The challenge of developing a habit of hand hygiene in hospitals

Hand hygiene has been proven to be the key tool to prevent healthcare-associated infections to protect the health of patients and healthcare workers [1].

Consequently, sanitizing hands before and after patient contact is a simple solution to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses in hospitals. To guide their healthcare workers, hospitals do typically use hand hygiene policies and guidelines. Achieving a high level of compliance is, however, not that simple. The implementation of these guidelines is usually inefficient and various studies do accordingly indicate that compliance with hand hygiene guidelines is suboptimal [2-3]. On average, healthcare workers clean their hands less than half of the times they should [4]. So why is that?

Reasons for low compliance amongst

The reasons for low compliance rates amongst healthcare workers are manifold [5-6]:

  • Pathogens carried on hands are invisible making it difficult to know when the hands are contaminated
  • Linking patient contact to an infection is difficult and healthcare workers often do not see the consequences of unclean hands
  • Cost of time for the healthcare workers
  • High workload
  • Understaffing
  • Ignorance of guidelines or lack of knowledge about the guidelines
  • The benefit accrues to the patient, not the staff
  • Direct observations lead to compliance overestimation

How to develop a habit of hand hygiene?

Performing hand hygiene on a regular basis is something that happens on a subconscious level. The challenge is to create this habit without forcing it on to the staff. There is already great awareness for hand hygiene and most healthcare workers do know of its importance. The missing piece is a tool that helps to develop a habit of hand hygiene whilst creating a collaborative safety culture instead of a shaming culture. It is exactly this where Sani Nudge can help healthcare institutions. The system makes the invisible tangible by providing reliable data. It discreetly ingrains hand hygiene as an automatic habit and boosts hand hygiene compliance to unprecedented levels (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Improvement of hand hygiene compliance in some of the hospitals that use Sani Nudge as an improvement tool.


The implementation of the Sani Nudge system can make all the difference when fighting spread of infection in healthcare settings.

Contact us to learn more

If you are looking for a solution that increases hand hygiene compliance rates across hospital departments, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to discuss your healthcare facility’s specific needs and to help with your infection prevention efforts.




[3] Ay, Pinar & Gulsen Teker, Ayse & Hidiroglu, Seyhan & Tepe, Pinar & Surmen, Aysen & Sili, Uluhan & Korten, Volkan & Karavus, Melda. (2019). A qualitative study of hand hygiene compliance among health care workers in intensive care units. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 13. 111-117. 10.3855/jidc.10926. Available from:


[5] Sharma S. Hand hygiene and hospital-acquired infections. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 16];11:201-2. Available from:


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