Effectiveness of an audible reminder on hand hygiene adherence

Am J Infect Control. 2012 May;40(4):320-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.05.023. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


Background: Multimodal interventions aim to improve health care workers' adherence to hand hygiene guidelines. Visitors are not primarily targeted, but may spread epidemic infections. Effective interventions that improve the adherence of visitors to hand hygiene guidelines are needed to prevent the transmission of epidemic infections to or from health care environments.

Methods: An electronic motion sensor-triggered audible hand hygiene reminder was installed at hospital ward entrances. An 8-month preinterventional and postinterventional study was carried out to measure the adherence of hospital visitors and staff to hand hygiene guidelines.

Results: Overall hand hygiene adherence increased from 7.6% to 49.9% (P < .001). The adherence of visitors and nonclinical staff increased immediately from 10.6% to 63.7% and from 5.3% to 34.8%, respectively (P < .001). Adherence of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists increased gradually from 4.5% to 38.3%, from 5.4% to 43.4%, and from 8.7% to 49.5%, respectively (P < .001). Improved adherence was sustained among visitors and clinical staff (P < .001), but not among nonclinical staff (P = .341).

Conclusions: The electronic motion sensor-triggered audible reminder immediately and significantly improved and sustained greater adherence of hospital visitors and clinical staff to hand hygiene guidelines. This is an effective addition to multimodal hand hygiene interventions and may help control epidemic infections.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Guideline Adherence / organization & administration
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infection Control / organization & administration
  • Reminder Systems / instrumentation*
  • Visitors to Patients / psychology*