I happened to notice today that the WHO has posted an update to its campaign Save Lives: Clean Your Hands, which aims to get 10,000 hospitals around the world to sign on — by May 5, 2010, which is next week — to a global commitment to improved hand hygiene in hospitals.
As of last week, 8,173 hospitals had signed up (1899 in the United States, FYI).
If I sound skeptical, it’s because we all know that merely supporting hand-washing (or the gel equivalent) is an easy thing to do. If you asked any hospital in the US, you would hear 100% support for hand-washing — including in the hospitals where healthcare workers miss 50% of opportunities to wash their hands. It’s in the granular details of implementation — and the relentless laser-like focus on execution practiced, for instance, by Novant Health Care in North Carolina, whose story is told in SUPERBUG — that change really happens.
Whether this WHO campaign can bring that focus and create that change… we’ll just have to see.