How can you incentivize a team of healthcare professionals to change longstanding behaviors? Motivations such as money, being observed, peer pressure, or other incentives might work in the short term, but how do you get someone to permanently change a behavior?
There are many theories about the psychology of changing one’s habits, but we’re specifically interested in understanding the psychology of performing effective hand hygiene.
Hand hygiene compliance is a critical element in the fight against dangerous and deadly healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). With roughly one-in-25 hospital patients contracting an HAI every day, HAI prevention through proper hand hygiene is a top concern among healthcare institutions nationwide. After all, compliance to proper infection control protocols, including hand hygiene, could literally mean the difference between life and death for certain patients.
With new and improved hand hygiene products comes the need for facility-wide adoption and compliance of effective and proven hand hygiene practices from healthcare workers. In today’s growing healthcare industry, what influences a healthcare professional to follow or not follow hand hygiene compliance rules? Could it be:
In a recent study published by the Harvard Business School, a researcher compared the adoption of hand hygiene behavior modifications at a California hospital between two groups: one receiving monetary rewards for a team behavior change and the other relying solely on the implicit incentive of an organizational behavior modification, a.k.a. peer pressure. The researcher found that the group receiving monetary incentives were more likely to adopt the new hand hygiene behaviors initially, but that those changes were relatively short-lived compared to the group exposed to peer pressure only.
But why is that? It seems that social pressure and the desire to succeed for the benefit of the entire group is a more powerful and lasting motivator.
We have much to understand when it comes to the psychology of hand hygiene and compliance, and appreciate the work done by researchers such as Dr. Jocelyn Srigley and Susanna Gallani in helping healthcare facilities improve their hand hygiene and compliance efforts.
Essential moments to perform hand hygiene*:
Originally posted on DebMed Blog http://blog.debmed.com/blog
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