Single Word Change in Hand Hygiene Message Improved Compliance

Wording in messages to encourage hand hygiene could lead to significant changes in compliance, according to research published in Psychological Science.

For their study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University of North Carolina conducted two field experiments at a single hospital. In each experiment, healthcare professionals posted two signs that either emphasized personal safety or patient safety:

"Hand hygiene prevents you from catching disease."
"Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases."


The researchers compared how much soap and hand gel was used and also observed the healthcare professionals hand hygiene behaviors. Their results showed that a single word-change (from "you" to "patients") significantly increased hand hygiene compliance.

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