Big Brother tells Long Island doctors to wash their hands


Big Brother is watching the doctors and nurses at the North Shore University Hospital in Long Island – and he wants them to wash their hands.

In an attempt to make sure that medical staff take due care not to spread infections, the hospital has installed cameras in its intensive care unit that  are activated by sensors when doctors or nurses enter the room. The recording is then beamed across to India, where employees of Arrowsight, a video-monitoring company, scrutinise the footage to check that they have properly washed their hands.

It’s not the only hospital resorting to extreme measures to make sure that medical staff scrub up properly: Arrowsight’s chief executive Adam Aronson told The New York Times that a hospital in California is also using his company’s services.

Meanwhile, eight other hospitals in the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Pakistan are set to test the system, Mr Aronson said.

Other hospitals in the US have adopted bizarre reward schemes – such as handing out free pizza and coffee coupons – to encourage hospital workers to wash their hands.

Studies have suggested the risk of dry skin, the pressures  of an emergency environment and the tedium of the process  of hand washing as possible explanations for lack of compliance.