According to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention, hospital acquired infections affect between 1.5 and 2 million patients each year. Health officials are trying to wipe out these infections with a new "hand washing" campaign.
Hospital infections account for about 90,000 deaths and cost between five and 10 billion dollars a year.
According to Doctor Robert Galvin, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, handwashing is the most inexpensive and simple thing one can do to prevent infections.
Galvin was joined by Hospital CEO's, Nursing Home Directors, and other healthcare providers to pledge that their organization will make Connecticut safer by encouraging hand hygiene.
Among them was Susan MacArtur, an Infection Control Practitioner and Registered Nurse at Hartford Hospital. She says the challenge is to change patient care practices from within hospitals, and to start from the top.
"Now what we're going to do is make it something that CEOs are aware of, and make it a point that it's on their radar screen so it's on everyone else's radar screen in the hospital. But secondly, what we want to do is to have a collaboration so that we work with our patients. If a patient or family member sees that somebody comes into the room without washing their hands, they feel comfortable that they can mention it, and not feel as if they're going to be retaliated against."
According to a study from the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 48 percent of hospital employees wash their hands.
What's the best way to get hands clean? According to MacArthur, just plain old soap and warm water.