Identifying drivers for user preference and acceptability of different hydro alcoholic hand rub formulations

A/Prof. Denis Verwilghen1, Kamilla Osiak1, Alex Shaw3, Dr Kate Averay1, A/Prof Gunter Kampf2, A/Prof Gaby van Galen1

1Sydney School Of Veterinary Science, Sydney, Australia, 2University Medicine Greifswald, Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Greifswald, Germany, 3Sydney Informatics Hub, Core Research Facilities, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Introduction: In this era, the importance of proper hand hygiene (HH) to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases is not to debate. Yet, compliance rates remain low and affected by availability of products, workplace culture, lack of time and others. The type of alcohol rub (AR) or its formulation may also have an impact on the acceptance of use. In order to develop strategies to improve compliance with HH, understanding user’s perception on product characteristics needs to be investigated. The present study aimed to focus on the user acceptability and drivers of preference for use of different AR formulations.

Methods: A randomized blinded evaluation based on the “WHO Protocol for Evaluation of Tolerability and Acceptability of Alcohol-based Handrub “ was run on a random sample of 54 respondents. Three AR’s provided as a foam, gel or liquid (all from BBraun, Melsungen Germany) were used. All products contain the same composition of biocidal active substances with 45% ethanol (w/w) and 18% n-propanol (w/w).

Results: 76% of respondents indicated the composition of the AR impacts their level of compliance with HH protocols. Preferred AR was the liquid, with 50% of participants ranking it as first choice. General product satisfaction, products texture, drying speed and ease of application, were the statistically significant drivers for participants to rank a formulation as their first choice versus not.

Conclusion: When designing alcohol formulations and implementing hand hygiene protocols, understanding drivers of preference for formulations may enhance product user acceptability and so compliance with hand hygiene.


Denis Verwilghen is associate professor of equine surgery at Sydney university. As a specialist surgeon he contributes to the education of future veterinarians. As an academic interest Denis focusses on surgical principles including hand hygiene besides his surgical research.

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