WHO's 6-step hand-washing technique more effective than CDC's 3 steps

A six-step hand-washing process developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) is more effective than the three-step approach suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study has found.

The UK study, led by Jacqui Reilly, Ph.D., professor of infection prevention and control at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, found that the WHO method better reduced the median bacterial count on the hands of the 42 physicians and 78 nurses studied.

The research, published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, also discovered that because the six-step technique takes 25 percent more time to complete, the doctors and nurses observed did not always complete the entire process.

"One of the interesting incidental findings was that compliance with the six-step technique was lacking. Only 65 percent of providers completed the entire hand-hygiene process despite participants having instructions on the technique in front of them and having their technique observed. This warrants further investigation for this particular technique and how compliance rates can be improved," Reilly said in a study announcement.

Hand-hygiene protocols are a key tenant for hospitals, but enforcing them has been a long-time battle. Ongoing training and reinforcing accountability are among tips for improving compliance, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

WHO offers an extensive online guide on its six-step method, including suggestions on how to best train and promote hand-hygiene compliance.

To learn more:
- here's the study 
- read the announcement
- check out the guide (.pdf)

Related Articles:
Nearly 1 in 4 hospitals fail in hand hygiene
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An 8-step strategy to improve hand-hygiene compliance
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