The 'wicked problem' of hospital handwashing

It sounds like a simple task: how do you make sure that health care workers in hospitals wash their hands?

Handwashing has been identified as the single-most important action in preventing the spread of hospital-acquired (and antibiotic-resistant) infections such as golden staph. The World Health Organisation estimates that these infections contribute to 80,000 deaths each year. The issue is pressing – but despite their training and good intentions, hospital staff don’t always follow handwashing protocols.

For the past year, practice professors Mark Armstrong and Daphne Flynn, the director of Monash Art, Design and Architecture’s Health Collab, have been working with leading clinicians on a strategy to improve hospital handwashing rates. The designers describe the brief as a “wicked problem” that becomes curlier the more they look into it.

Read more about their research:

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