Next up in the news for nurses is a look at how a web application improved hand washing rates and lowered the spread of seasonal flu outbreaks. The journal The Lancet published a recent study in it’s online version showing how web-based education and prevention programs might be used to impact public health.

Hand Washing Education Research

hand-washing-public-healthBritish researchers enlisted about twenty thousand participants in a study over three years between 2011 and 2013. Half of them received web-based reminders of hand-washing effectiveness at disease prevention, options to monitor and report hand-washing behavior, and follow-up encouragement from the program. The people and the households in which they lived became proponents of hand-washing in their communities, too.

Previously, similar studies had looked at programs to improve hand-washing for children. They did not look at effects on adults and the whole family. After the study, the researchers looked at respiratory infection rates in the families of participants. They found up to a 25% reduction in respiratory infections and nearly a 10% reduction in trips to the doctor or hospital.

Utilizing Inexpensive Public Health Web Tools

This is a great example of how relatively inexpensive online health improvement tools can be a great way to impact public health. Think about what your system or facility might be able to do with a simple automatic emailer to patients about a variety of prevention topics. This is a topic that is crying out for an enterprising nurse in a masters or doctoral program to pick up the research into this here in the U.S. and see what other health messaging might be effective in helping improve patient wellness.

I’m sure you have a thought about this, too. What do you think? I want to hear from you so leave a comment on the site b or shoot me an email to below NursingShow@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Chronic Pain Management With Opioids and Episode 361.

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