Researchers Affix Flashing Red Light to Hand Hygiene Product Dispensers to Garner Attention


D'Egidio, et al. (2014) describe their experience with an attention theory-based hypothesis which tested whether a simple red light flashing at 2-3 Hz affixed to the alcohol gel dispensers within a main hospital entrance would increase hand hygiene compliance over the baseline rate. Baseline and intervention observations were completed over five 60-minute periods (Monday through Friday) from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. using a covert observation method.

The researchers report that the facility's baseline hand hygiene compliance was 12.4 percent. The intervention increased compliance to 23.5 percent during cold weather and 27.1 percent during warm weather. Overall, the pooled compliance rate increased to 25.3 percent.

D'Egidio, et al. (2014) conclude that a simple, inexpensive flashing red light affixed to alcohol gel dispensers was sufficiently salient to approximately double overall hand hygiene compliance within the main hospital entrance. They hypothesize that the intervention drew attention to the dispensers, which then reminded employees and visitors to wash their hands. Compliance was worse during cold days, presumably related to more individuals wearing gloves.

Reference: D'Egidio G, et al. A study of the efficacy of flashing lights to increase the salience of alcohol-gel dispensers for improving hand hygiene compliance. Am J Infect Control. Volume 42, Issue 8, Pages 852-855, August 2014.

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