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Through several years of study we have come up with a way of combining technology and the theory of nuging. We call it Predictive Nudging Technology. 

The error lies in the definition of the problem

If, as a pretext of the attempt to change peoples behavior see them as rational agents, we can only reson low hand hygiene compliance for two reasons:

  • Either the HCWs are not completely aware of how bad the present state of hand hygiene is.
  • Or the HCWs are simply nasty and uninterested.

If we narrow down the analysis of our problem, there can only be two solutions:

  • Elucidate the outcome of following poor hand hygiene.
  • Make them interested in behavior by devising various campaigns and slogans.

That is why posters, education, brochures, joint meetings and the intranet boils with information regarding the dangers of bad hand hygiene and smart ideas with slogans and other initiatives. No other options are available when the problem is being examined from a rational framework.


Insight

However, if I look for science instead of being heavily dependent on intuitive assumptions, we find a lot of valuable information pertaining to human behavior. For instance, that both our memory and our ability to remember our own good intentions is quite limited in scope.

When we know that humans are designed in this way, it gives us other solutions to improve on poor hand hygiene. It is quite clear that the current solution with alcohol dispensers does not deal with either Cue or Reward.

This leads us to the solution, but just before I want to say two words about the method – because that is where you can distinguish Predictive nudging technology from similar reminding or alerting solutions.

Solutions

The predictable nudging technology is developed through several years of research. The technology works by using historical knowledge on individual’s behavior to induce unobtrusive nudges just before a person will forget to perform hand hygiene according to guidelines. The reason why we know this comes from the power of historical data. We use this data to predict how health care workers hygiene behavior is in different settings in time, stressful or busy situations and locations. We differentiate between each individual because we know that no one thinks the same. 

Each nudge is calculated from the theory of habitual behavior combined with current and historical observations and data.

The nudge

The nudge comes as two “triggers”:

# 1 TRIGGER: People interact with what is visible in the local community – and we must often be reminded of our good intentions.*

# 2 REWARD: People need rewards for their behavior, and an obvious version of it can often be feedback – “you did well here”!

Depending on the location of the dispenser the first trigger is a visual or audible nudge to evoke attention.  When the dispenser has been used we provide the reward as a visual “you did well here” animation. This ensures that each use of the sanitizer will be associated with a feeling of satisfaction which will lead to a persistent change in behavior.  It’s that simple.