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IIR 19-097 – HSR Study

IIR 19-097
Mindful Hand Hygiene to Reduce Infections Among Veterans While Enhancing Provider Well-Being
Michael Todd Greene, PhD MPH BS
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Sanjay Saint MD MPH
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Funding Period: February 2022 - September 2025


Background: More and more providers face cumulative stress and burdens arising from increasing regulations, administrative and clerical duties, clinical workloads, malpractice lawsuits, and less time with patients. As a result, stress, fatigue, psychological distress, depression, burnout, and career dissatisfaction among providers are prevalent. In addition to impacting providers directly, poor well-being can negatively impact healthcare organizations and reduce quality of care, patient safety and patient satisfaction. Additionally, provider burnout, stress, and workload have been associated with poorer hand hygiene adherence, which can increase the risk of healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Hand hygiene is a key element of preventing HAI, yet maintaining healthcare provider adherence to this basic practice remains challenging. Achieving optimal hand hygiene adherence requires minimizing cognitive biases, such as perceived low odds of spreading infections by not properly performing hand hygiene. Unfortunately, cognitive bias is a known barrier to clinician decision-making. Mindfulness is an approach that can help clinicians shed preconceived biases through nonjudgmental awareness and more broadly facilitate improvements in patient safety. Significance: A hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention targeted at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) providers could improve hand hygiene practices and thereby enhance patient outcomes. Additionally, incorporating brief mindfulness practices during moments of hand hygiene has the potential to directly improve provider well-being. Innovation and Impact: While targeted interventions and bundled approaches to improve hand hygiene adherence and reduce HAI have been implemented, interventions incorporating introspective techniques, such as mindfulness, are limited. In a recent single-site pilot study, team members of this proposed study found that a brief mindfulness intervention improved hand hygiene and mindful attention among physicians. The proposed study will expand on this pilot work by more broadly testing the hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention with both physicians and nurses, and by including a specific focus on provider well-being. The goal is to optimize provider hand hygiene adherence, improve provider well-being and enhance the quality and safety of care delivered to Veterans. Specific Aims: We have three specific aims: 1) To evaluate the effectiveness of a hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention on provider hand hygiene adherence, duration, and perceptions. 2) To evaluate the effectiveness of a hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention on measures of provider mindfulness and well-being. 3) To identify the barriers, facilitators, and perceptions of a hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention in the hospital. Methodology: We will conduct a randomized controlled mixed-methods trial at 2 diverse VHA hospitals. Physicians and nurses randomized to the intervention arm will receive mindfulness education and tools to prompt mindfulness during hand hygiene. Measures of hand hygiene (adherence, duration, and perceptions) and measures of provider mindfulness and well-being will be collected and compared between the intervention and control groups. Next Steps/Implementation: We will work with our proposed partners to review our study findings, modify our intervention as needed, and disseminate our findings through the various partnership channels. At the conclusion of this project, we will have a hand hygiene-based mindfulness intervention package that we can subsequently work to deploy more broadly across VHA hospitals to improve the safety of Veterans and the well-being of those providing their healthcare.

External Links for this Project

NIH Reporter

Grant Number: I01HX002910-01A2

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Journal Articles

  1. Kirykowicz K, Jaworski B, Owen J, Kirschbaum C, Seedat S, van den Heuvel LL. Feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a mental health self-management app in clinicians working during the COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot randomised controlled trial. Psychiatry Research. 2023 Nov 1; 329:115493. [view]

DRA: Infectious Diseases, Other Conditions
DRE: Treatment - Efficacy/Effectiveness Clinical Trial, TRL - Applied/Translational
Keywords: Behavioral therapy, Comparative Effectiveness, Health Promotion and Education, Self-Care
MeSH Terms: None at this time.

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