DebMed Blog: Healthcare Hygiene Matters

Physicians’ Stethoscopes More Contaminated Than Palms of Their Hand

Posted by DebMed on Feb 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Although healthcare workers’ hands are the main source of bacterial transmission in hospitals, physicians’ stethoscopes appear to play a role. To explore this question, investigators at the University of Geneva Hospitals assessed the level of bacterial contamination on physicians’ hands and stethoscopes following a single physical examination.   The study appears in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“By considering that stethoscopes are used repeatedly over the course of a day, come directly into contact with patients’ skin, and may harbor several thousands of bacteria (including MRSA) collected during a previous physical examination, we consider them as potentially significant vectors of transmission,” commented lead investigator Didier Pittet, MD, MS, Director of the Infection Control Program and WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, University of Geneva Hospitals. “From infection control and patient safety perspectives, the stethoscope should be regarded as an extension of the physician’s hands and be disinfected after every patient contact.” ...

Read full post and watch Dr. Didier Pittet discuss study findings on Deb Group Blog.

 

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