Can a simple congratulatory text message up hand hygiene compliance?

Text messaging via smartphones can help increase hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found.

Researchers studied the use of an intervention that uses text messages to provide reminders and feedback aimed at improving adherence to hand hygiene protocols. They examined 18 healthcare workers for 12 months using a radiofrequency identification system. During this time, the workers were sent one of two types of text messages — congratulation or encouragement.

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The researchers recorded 15,723 hand hygiene opportunities — 8,973 prior to the implementation of the intervention and 6,750 during and after the intervention. The study shows a significant increase in hand hygiene adherence during the intervention compared with the period prior.

"Despite limitations due to the type of study, a text message encouraging personnel to be more vigilant is effective in increasing hand hygiene adherence in healthcare workers," study authors concluded.

The CDC recommends healthcare providers perform hand hygiene at a number of intervals, including before and after having direct contact with a patient's skin and after glove removal.

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