Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Selling Soap - New York Times

Read the full article in the New York Times by the guys responsible for "Freakonomics".

"Even excellent hospitals often pass along bacterial infections, thereby sickening or even killing the very people they aim to heal. In its 2000 report “To Err Is Human,” the Institute of Medicine estimated that anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die each year because of hospital errors — more deaths than from either motor-vehicle crashes or breast cancer — and that one of the leading errors was the spread of bacterial infections."

"It may seem a mystery why doctors, of all people, practice poor hand hygiene. But as Bender huddled with the hospital’s leadership, they identified a number of reasons. For starters, doctors are very busy. And a sink isn’t always handy — often it is situated far out of a doctor’s work flow or is barricaded by equipment. Many hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai, had already introduced alcohol-based disinfectants like Purell as an alternative to regular hand-washing. But even with Purell dispensers mounted on a wall, the Cedars-Sinai doctors didn’t always use them."

Interesting article from the point of view of K4D.

Doctor's obviously know the literature that says hygiene in the hospital saves lives, but they don't necessarily transfer that knowledge into action.

They don't seem to know how often they wash their own hands, even tho they must be there watching as they do so.

And the lack of one kind of knowledge seems to interfere with the application of the "book learning" kind of knowledge.

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