Focus group data as a tool in assessing effectiveness of a hand hygiene campaign

McKinley Thomas, Wanda Gillespie, Janis Krauss, Steve Harrison, Regina Medeiros, Michael Hawkins, Ross Maclean, Keith F. Woeltje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Routine handwashing has been proven to decrease incidence of health care-associated infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), spawning numerous attempts to " advertise" its importance. However, most control measures fail to evaluate systematically the efficacy of handwashing initiatives. The purpose of this study was to implement a hand hygiene program in an academic medical center, utilizing visual cues developed with periodic input from hospital personnel. Methods: After estimation of baseline compliance (20%), visual cues in the form of 11″ × 17″ posters were developed in a sequential fashion, based on suggestions from participants. The stepwise approach was supported by data collected via focus groups. These data were used to design target-specific messages and to understand better the benefits of utilizing participant input. Results: Postexposure compliance rates indicated a modest improvement over baseline, increasing to 37% during the 12-month study. In addition, the stepwise design proved to be highly useful in guiding the intervention process. Analysis of qualitative data also elucidated numerous routes through which effective hand hygiene campaigns could be implemented. Conclusions: Through diligent observation and participant feedback, the research team was able to develop and market educational cues to meet service demands of health care professionals in a unified effort to control health care-associated infections. Future interventions should employ incremental evaluation designs supported by participant input to develop effective hand hygiene initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-373
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2005


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