Summer is in full blaze (especially for those in Rome, France and the western U.S.), so we don't have much time for long posts. However, I had to point you to an excellent study in BMJ (open access) by Luangasanatip et al. that utilized a systematic review and network meta-analysis to determine the comparative effectiveness of the WHO 2005 hand hygiene campaign and other interventions. The WHO-5 Campaign (not to be confused with the WHO 5 Moments) recommended a multimodal strategy consisting of 5 components: system change, training and education, observation and feedback, reminders in the hospital and a hospital safety climate.
The authors completed a systematic review of interventions from 2009-2014 and used prior reviews to identify other studies. A strength of the analysis was that they looked beyond randomized trials and included high quality quasi-experimental studies including non-randomized trials, controlled before-after trials, and interrupted time series studies. They then completed a network meta-analysis which suggested that the WHO-2005 campaign was effective and compliance could be improved if other interventions were added including goal setting, reward incentives and accountability.
For those interested in reading more about network meta-analysis, I suggest you read John Cornell's editorial and the PRISMA Extension Statement in this past June's Annals. Briefly, it allows direct and indirect comparisons of interventions. For example, if 2 interventions are not directly compared they can still be compared if they were both directly compared to a third intervention (see Figure 1 above - Treatment D vs Treatment B or C through their direct comparison to Treatment A). Additionally if there is a closed-loop of studied interventions, additional information can be gained from indirect comparisons even if direct comparisons also exist. For example, in Figure 1 above, we can learn about Treatment A vs Treatment B from their direct comparison but also indirectly through Treatment C.
I encourage you to read the full study and the editorial by Matthew Muller. Very nice to see that the BMJ published this important study. And for those in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your cool weather. These summers seem to be getting worse and worse.
Eli N. Perencevich, MD, ACP Member, is an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist in Iowa City, Iowa, who studies methods to halt the spread of resistant bacteria in our hospitals (including novel ways to get everyone to wash their hands). This post originally appeared at the blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention.