Hand washing is still one of the best forms of defense against spreading infection. Mt. Sinai hospital published this blurb on the importance of hand hygeine.
The following quote is not surprising and a little unsettling:
When it comes to hand hygiene, the survey shows that Mount Sinai staff feel they are doing a better job than they actually are. In fact, staff believe that 77 per cent of the time they wash their hands before contacting patients, while the 2008 Mount Sinai audit shows a 48 per cent compliance rate.
This pattern is actually typical in hospitals. You can do your part as a patient. REMIND the clincians to wash their hands before touching you. It’s not disrespectful–it’s TEAMWORK!