In medicine, research, experiments, and surveys are regularly conducted and serve as excellent tools for the development of new treatment methods, understanding patients’ needs, concerns, and so on. It also helps healthcare professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of new medications and medical procedures. One of the ways to conduct successful research is the so-called PICOT question technique. In this essay, a comparison of research questions, sample populations, and the limitations of the study based on PICOT questions will be presented.
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PICOT is a tool that comprises the four components of clinical questions, such as patient (problem), intervention, comparison, outcome, and time. The PICOT system helps professionals clarify research questions, which makes the process of finding answers easier. For example, the PICOT tool was used for identifying the effect of a thorough handwashing and antiseptic rule implementation for staff on improving the rate of hospital-acquired infections.
Various articles related to the subject support the PICOT tool providing appropriate evidence. Thus, Indian scholars aimed to improve hand hygiene compliance among the staff (Chavali, Menon, & Shukla, 2014). American researchers try to achieve similar goals, but their research questions are different. Thus, Mitchell, Boisvert, Wilson, and Hogan (2017) set a goal to increase the awareness of hand hygiene, while Chassin, Mayer, and Nether (2015) target causes of noncompliance with hand hygiene. These articles are supplemented by the work that analyzes the health worker’s explanation for the reluctance to comply with the rules (Fulller et al., 2014).
Some scholars define the rate of hand contamination of health workers (Tajeddin et al., 2016). Ethiopian researchers identify factors that ensure hand hygiene compliance (Abdella et al., 2014). Further research evaluates the methods that are introduced by the World Health Organization to control diseases caused by hospital-acquired infections (Reilly et al., 2016). These ideas are supported in the article of Australian scholars who analyze explanations of health workers for noncompliance with head hygiene rules (White et al., 2014). Each piece contains information on the same subject but has different purposes.
Comparing the research articles mentioned above, it can be concluded that they all have mutual goals. These goals are to raise awareness of health workers about the necessity to comply with hand hygiene rules to reduce the number of patients who have hospital-acquired infections. Another similarity is that these articles were written with the help of the PICOT tool. First of all, the problems related to patients are clearly identified. Second, the effect of compliance with hand hygiene by staff is proven, which can be considered as the intervention. Third, the comparison of possible outcomes depending on either keeping or noncompliance with hygiene rules is conducted.
What distinguishes these articles is the fact that they represent different stages of research. Thus, if someone wants to know more about hospital-acquired diseases, he or she should start from the readings about the importance of hand hygiene. These works should be followed by articles that determine key hand hygiene factors and the rate of hands’ contamination of health workers. Then, it is logical to pay attention to the possible ways of dealing with this problem. It includes compliance with hand hygiene rules and implementation of steps introduced by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control. One more difference is that each group of scholars sees various ways to resolve the existing problem and, therefore, focuses on different aspects of the same problem.
It is also worth mentioning that sample populations are different for each survey or research. The number of people who took part in interviews varies from 38 to more than a thousand healthcare workers and patients. In some research, however, the total number of participants was not provided. What brings exceptional value to the offered articles is that they contain information about the situation with hand hygiene in different parts of the world, including the USA, Australia, Ethiopia, and Iran. Therefore, comparing the articles in terms of the sample of populations, it is clear that they are all different in terms of the number of participants and their locations. However, the contingent is similar, as it implies the participation of healthcare professionals and their patients.
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There are no doubts that the research papers bring some positive results as it promotes people’s awareness about the problem and helps to reduce the number of those who have hospital-acquired infections. However, it is necessary to notice that these studies have some limitations.
Thus, each paper concentrates on a particular aspect of a subject, which limits its opportunities to explore the problem from different angles. For example, a study that aims to consider the effect of dealing with infections suggested by the World Health Organization does not deem critical factors of noncompliance to hygiene rules. Therefore, comparing the limitations of these studies, it can be concluded that each article has its regulations regarding the described subjects and research questions.
It can be concluded that all the mentioned articles contain essential information about hand hygiene. The literature review revealed that research papers support the PICOT tool as the themes follow its main components. As a result of the study, all these components became known in the evidence. In addition, a comparison of research papers, sample populations, and the limitations of the study was conducted.
Even though these articles made a significant contribution to people’s awareness of hospital-acquired infections, there is still room for improvement. Thus, it is necessary to mention that each hospital has its own challenges. Therefore, it is recommended to investigate the cases in each hospital separately to understand the causes of noncompliance to hand hygiene rules. Also, it would be beneficial to suggest more effective ways to carry out antibacterial procedures in addition to handwashing and alcohol-based hand rub.
Abdella, N., Tefera M., Eredie, A., Landers, T., Malefia, Y., & Alene, K. (2014). Hand hygiene compliance and associated factors among health care providers in Gondar University Hospital, Gondar, North West Ethiopia. BMC Public Health, 14(96), 1–7.
Chassin, M., Mayer, C., & Nether, K. (2015). Improving hand hygiene at eight hospitals in the United States by targeting specific causes of noncompliance. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 41(1), 4–12.
Chavali, S., Menon, V., & Shukla, U. (2014). Hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers in an accredited tertiary care hospital. Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine: Official Publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, 18(10), 689–693.
Fuller, C., Besser, S., Savage, J., McAteer, J., Stone, S., & Michie, S. (2014). Application of a theoretical framework for behavior change to hospital workers’ real-time explanations for noncompliance with hand hygiene guidelines. American Journal of Infection Control American Journal of Infection Control, 42(2), 106–110.
Mitchell, A., Boisvert, E., Wilson, T., & Hogan, S. (2017). Hand hygiene- a quality improvement project. Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, 1(7), 1–4.
Reilly, J., Price, L., Lang, S., Robertson, C., Cheater, F., Skinner, K., & Chow, A. (2016). A pragmatic randomized controlled trial of 6-step vs. 3-step hand hygiene technique in acute hospital care in the United Kingdom. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology., 37(6), 661–666.
Tajeddin, E., Rashidan, M., Razaghi, M., Javadi, S., Sherafat, S., Alebouyeh, M., … Zali, M. (2016). The role of the intensive care unit environment and healthcare workers in the transmission of bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 9(1), 13–23.
White, K., Jamieson, N., Obst, P., Graves, N., Barnett, A., Cockshaw, W., … Martin, E. (2015). Using a theory of planned behavior framework to explore hand hygiene beliefs at the ‘5 critical moments’ among Australian hospital-based nurses. BMC Health Services Research, 41(1), 1–9.