While it is well known that hand hygiene helps to prevent infections in both healthcare and community settings, to be effective it needs to be performed in the correct way by using the 6-step technique, recommended by the World Health Organization. For this reason, healthcare workers are taught the 6-step hand hygiene technique during their training, which usually is delivered in one session. However, healthcare workers’ compliance with the 6-step technique in clinical practice remains low and hand hygiene technique does not seem to be well retained.
This important problem was addressed in our recent paper, published in collaboration with colleagues from SureWash and Trinity College in Dublin. Our paper, titled “Psychomotor learning theory informing the design and evaluation of an interactive augmented reality hand hygiene training app for healthcare workers”, describes the design of a mobile hand hygiene training app and reports the findings of our study that investigated whether short, daily training sessions using a mobile app can help learners to develop proficiency in performing the 6-step technique.
The augmented reality mobile app was developed by SureWash based on a detailed analysis of the relevant learning theories relating to psychomotor skills learning. It employs short, repeated training with the level of difficulty being controlled by the learner and the provision of real-time feedback on learner’s performance.
The app was independently evaluated by our SHIP team researchers with the involvement of 47 GCU staff and students. We asked the participants to practice the 6-step technique using the app once a day for four weeks and we assessed their ability to perform the 6-step technique every week. We found that 81% of participants achieved proficiency in performing the 6-step technique after using an app on 24 occasions on average.
These findings show that hand hygiene app can empower learners to independently master the 6-step hand hygiene technique and could offer an alternative and efficient approach to healthcare workers’ hand hygiene training. This is turn could improve the quality of hand hygiene practice in healthcare and contribute to the prevention of infections. However, the app could also be a valuable tool for the members of the general public to learn how to correctly wash their hands and protect themselves and others from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Our paper was published in the Education and Information Technologies journal and is available in full text to all: https://rdcu.be/czluA
The SureWash Hand Hygiene app is available for download to all: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.surewash.surewash&hl=en_GB&gl=US