This is what made doctors wash their hands

Story highlights

  • Hospital staff members were shown images of bacteria from common surfaces
  • After seeing the images, every unit experienced at least an 11% increase in hand-washing

(CNN)Many health-care workers do not wash their hands nearly as often as they should, but one Detroit hospital may have found a way to improve hand hygiene. The infection team at the Henry Ford Health System found that hand-washing rates improved after hospital staff members were shown images of millions of bacteria found on common surfaces.

According to a study of the effort, the images showed bacterial growth on items like unused gloves, doorknobs, a nurse station mouse, health-care workers' hands, a mobile phone and an ultrasound machine.
"Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection, and yet it can be one of the most difficult benchmarks to improve," said Susan Dolan, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The study is being presented at the association's annual conference.