3 reasons you shouldn’t trust direct observations

Hand hygiene compliance has for a long time been measured via Direct Observations (DO). 

However, let’s be realistic; if Direct Observation was the answer, the nationwide average wouldn’t still be below 50%. Today, technology has not yet replaced DO as the gold standard even though they far outperform DOs for the 3 reasons below:  

1. Too small a sample size

A typical 30-bed hospital unit will experience around 75,000 hand hygiene opportunities a month. Most hospitals with robust Direct Observation programs will report capturing only around 60-200 hand hygiene opportunities per month, which represents less than 0.08% of the total.

2. Observation Bias

We commonly see that an observer who has a personal belief that physicians are less likely to sanitize than nurses ends up unintentionally recognizing those patterns. What people see and what they record can often be two very different things.

3. Inherent catch-22. 

With DO, it’s impossible to both record accurate data and improve results. Hospitals don’t use CT scans to treat fractures, nor a thermometer to treat sepsis, yet DO is usually intended to both be the monitor and solution for almost all hospitals. What’s the point of monitoring a problem you can’t solve and failing to change behavior? 

Moreover, the total cost for direct observation easily becomes unsustainable.  In a standard 200-bed hospital, it can rise to more than €70,000 per year

Empower your facility by doubling hand hygiene compliance with Sani Nudge’s automated hand hygiene solution, designed to support and enhance your efforts. With real-time monitoring and feedback, your staff will stay on top of best practices, creating a safer environment for patients, staff, and visitors. 

We understand the weight of your responsibilities, and we are here to support you. Get a free  live demo of our solution and learn how it easily integrates into everyday working flow.

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