Why don’t patients remind medical professionals to wash their hands?
by JONATHAN M. METSCH, DR.P.H., LLC
Mar 31, 2014 | 753 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I ask this question to every clinician examining me, doing a procedure on me, or drawing blood from me. Physicians. Dentists. Phlebotomists. Radiology techs. PTs. And I prefer they wash their hands in front of me. Proper hand washing is the single most effective preventive medicine measure. Recently a Bloomberg News article http://www.bloomberg.com * explained why it is important to remind clinicians to wash their hands. “Physicians shouldn’t take offense. We all can benefit from reminders about the basics. Years of education and expertise don’t mean that medical professionals aren’t human, and may sometimes forget a step in even routine procedures.”

“I attend meetings every week, some of which recur on the same day and at the same time. Yet without the beep from my phone’s calendar, I would often be late or absent. Similarly, doctors know what they are looking for in the tests they order for patients, but it still helps when lab reports “red-flag” abnormal results. I’m not insulted when the lab publishes the normal range of creatinine alongside my patient’s value, even though I have many years of experience assessing these numbers. I’m not demeaned when the pharmacist calls to ask about a potential drug interaction in a prescription I have written.”

“A nudge to remember to wash hands should be equally unobjectionable.”

The best practice for physicians is to wash their hands before and after seeing every patient.

Sooooo….are you ready to start asking “Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands?”

*to read the full Bloomberg article “Doctors Should Welcome a Nudge to Wash Their Hands”, by Ford Vox, highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-15/doctors-should-welcome-a-nudge-to-wash-their-hands.html

Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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