Medical center increases hand washing, dramatically reduces infections

A medical center in Cleveland, Ohio, has found that the simple act of washing hands by hospital staff has reduced the infection rates at the hospital. What may be surprising, though, is just how much a difference it makes.

The hospital, Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, hired four employees in 2010 to monitor compliance with hand washing standards, as well as post their results by department. The effort is paying off, as bloodstream infections have dropped by two-thirds, and compliance is now averaging 98% among all medical units.

Compare that to the average across the United States: amazingly enough, hospitals average less than 50% compliance with hand washing standards.

The hospital used both soap and water, as well as hand sanitizer, to achieve their goal of greater compliance with hand washing among staff.