Researchers Examine Feasibility of Using Virtual Reality for Hand Hygiene Training in Healthcare Personnel

Eichel, et al. (2022) says that for effective prevention of nosocomial transmissions continuous training and motivation of healthcare workers (HCWs) are essential to maintain and increase compliance with high rates of hand hygiene. The use of virtual reality (VR) seems to be a contemporary and interesting approach for hand hygiene training in HCWs. Nevertheless, HCWs should be asked for their preferences as intrinsic motivation is essential for compliance with hand hygiene and training success should be evaluated.

A prospective, cross-controlled trial was conducted at two wards in a tertiary care hospital comparing a conventional lecture for hand hygiene to the use of VR. Both interventions were assigned at ward level. Primary outcome was HCW acceptance, which was verified in a third ward, secondary outcomes were handrub consumption and compliance to indications for hand hygiene as proposed by WHO.

In summary, 81 trainings were conducted, 48 VR trainings and 33 trainings by lecture. VR training was well accepted by HCW with a mean score in all items from 3.9 to 4.3 (out of 5). While most HCWs (69%) would prefer VR teaching rather than a lecture for hand hygiene education, only 4% preferred the traditional lecture. 400 observations of hand hygiene indications were made, 50 before intervention and 50 after each intervention at the three wards. Mean proportion of correct and indication-appropriate performances was 81% before intervention, 87% after VR training (pā€‰=ā€‰0.12), and 95% after lecture (pā€‰=ā€‰0.04). Handrub consumption did not change significantly in any group.

The researchers conclude that due to the high acceptance of VR technology among healthcare workers, it can be considered an interesting addition to conventional lectures for teaching hand hygiene; however, the hypothesis that VR teaching has a higher impact on handrub use and hand hygiene compliance than a conventional lecture cannot be confirmed.

Reference: Eichel VM, et al. Is virtual reality suitable for hand hygiene training in health care workers? Evaluating an application for acceptability and effectiveness. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 11, article number 91 (2022).