Hand hygiene compliance rates improved among healthcare workers at a Detroit hospital after they were shown images of bacterial growth similar to the levels of contamination on their own skin.

Researchers compiled a book of bacterial culture images that were meant to stir a feeling of disgust when shown to hospital staff. They picked four units with low hand hygiene compliance rates and carried out 10 interventions on each unit for two months.

After 10 weeks, each unit saw an increase in hygiene compliance rates of at least 10% points:

  • Unit one: 10.9% (pre: 47.4% to post: 58.3%)
  • Unit two: 18.4% (pre: 50% to post: 68.4%)
  • Unit three: 47.6% (pre: 33.3% to post: 80.9%)
  • Unit four: 18.8% (pre: 50% to post: 68.8%)

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