A research study conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), which showed the six-step hand-hygiene technique triumphed a rival three-step process, has led to a prestigious award for its lead researcher.

The study revealed the six-step process was the most effective technique for killing bacteria, not related to hand coverage or time.

The six-step technique reduced the median bacterial count four fold from 3.28 to 2.58, compared to the three-step method that reached 2.88.

The findings by Professor Jacqui Reilly, who leads the Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) research group, were published in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology Journal. Since the publication, the paper has ranked in the top five per cent of research outputs of all journals scored by Altmetrics and is the top-scored article by ICHE and has received widespread media coverage including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Toronto Star, to name a few.

Now Professor Reilly has been awarded by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s (SHEA) 2017 William Jarvis Award for Outstanding International Clinical Paper. The awards will take place tomorrow, October 5, in San Diego.

She said: “Hand hygiene is one of the most important interventions that we can all do to protect our health and to prevent the transmission of disease. Much was known about when we should do hand hygiene but little was known about the best technique, our pragmatic randomised controlled trial in a Glasgow hospital found that the six-step technique was significantly better than the three-step technique used in many countries. This can now be used in international guidance so we can be clear that hand-hygiene technique is based on the best research-based evidence.”

“I am delighted to receive the award on behalf of the team at the University and our international collaborators who have worked on the study. It’s had a phenomenal impact and demonstrates the importance of hand hygiene to prevent infections.”

The study provides the first research evidence for the World Health Organisation (WHO) hand-hygiene guidelines which promotes the six-step process.

Professor Reilly has also been shortlisted for a NMAHP Research Award in the category of ‘Established Research Career Award’.  She will attend a ceremony in Edinburgh on November 9, 4-6pm, where the winner will be announced.