TED Conversations

Lior Zoref

Crowdsourcing advocate, @liorz

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

How can we make a behavioral change among medical personnel so that they’ll wash hands before examining each patient? It can save many lives

Here’s a question that might help save many lives.

Hospital-acquired infections are causing 100,000 deaths each year in the US and many more around the world. This is one of the biggest challenges in hospitals today.

Much of the ‘blame’ rests on the hospital staff, since these infections are transmitted far more often when hospital personnel fail to regularly wash hands and practice proper hygiene.

Hand washing is the single most important measure for reducing the risks of transmitting infections. Yet the harsh reality is that too many physicians and nurses, including those in the most advanced leading medical centers, do not bother to wash hands regularly although an antiseptic gel is accessible near every patient's bedside.

Many hospitals tried to take disciplinary enforcement measures but it doesn't seem to help. There's also a solution based on electronic systems (with RFID tags) but it's too expensive and complicated to implement broadly.

I’m working with Prof Gabi Barbash, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, in order to try and find a creative idea that might solve this problem.

Try to think of an idea that can make a behavioral change among the medical personnel so that they will all wash their hands before and after examining a patients.

Maybe together we’ll find an idea worth spreading to stop infections from spreading…

Thanks

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 20 2013: zior, one bad thing about washing your hands is the lye in the soap strips the oil out of them. I would like to wash my hands more often, but I don't do it for this reason, my hands feel dry
    • thumb
      Nov 20 2013: Interesting point. We'll check that with the medical staff to see how they relate to this point.
      Thanks
      • thumb
        Nov 20 2013: some people will say to rub oil into your hands after each handwashing. I have never trusted this as the external oil does not seem as organic and healthy as the natural oil produced by your body, present everywhere including one's hands. For me this would not be a solution.

        I do try to keep my bathroom clean which is something I can do without stripping hand oil.

        One thing I hate about a public men's bathroom is how noisy most guys are. For instance, when they close the door to the stall, they bang the door shut. If they have to put the lid down on the toilet, they tip it a few inches and then let go, so it crashes down. Are men in Israel the same way?
      • thumb
        Nov 21 2013: your nation is a bit more noisy in what way, Lior? I'm talking about people handling something too roughly that isn't even theirs, in my mind continuing small acts of vandalism.

        I always say treat other people's property as if it is your own.

        Have you inquired about whether people avoid handwashing so as to not chap their hands? Let us know the results.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.