Outpatient clinic staff fail to wash hands more than one-third of the time

Medical staff in outpatient settings failed to follow established hand-hygiene practices nearly 4 out of 10 times, according to an observational study that also found staff failed to follow practices for safe injections one-third of the time.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, medical students from the University of New Mexico and researchers from the New Mexico Health Department observed hygiene behaviors at 15 outpatient facilities across the state, according to study announcement.

Staff told medical students during interviews that 93 percent of the hand hygiene and safe injection practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were in place across the outpatient facilities, according to the announcement. But observations showed compliance was far less, with staff using neither soap and water nor alcohol-based sanitizer 37 percent of the time.

"These findings support the need for ongoing infection prevention quality improvement initiatives in outpatient settings and underscore the importance of assessing both self-report and observed behavior of infection prevention compliance," the researchers concluded.

To learn more:
- here's the study abstract
- check out the announcement