‘Co-Washing’ May Improve Clinic Hand Washing

(HealthDay News) — A new approach to outpatient hand washing involving patient and physician co-washing may increase hand washing, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Gregory A. Doyle, M.D., from West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues tested a new approach involving patient and physician hand washing. Clinicians offered sanitizer to the patient and used the sanitizer to wash their own hands in front of the patient. Data were included from 384 questionnaires: 184 from phase 1 (pre-intervention) and 200 from phase 2 (post-intervention).

The researchers found that according to patients, doctors washed their hands 96.6 and 99.5 percent of the time before examining them pre-intervention and post-intervention, respectively. Overall, 98.7 percent of the time patients endorsed the importance of hand washing.

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“Further research is recommended to determine whether ‘co-washing’ enhances clinic hand washing or hand washing at home by patients, and whether it can reduce infection rates,” the authors write.

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