Here's a really cool quick study that shows how we think. Are we concerned about our own hygiene, about infecting others and what words will make a difference in our actions. 


  • Dr. Hofmann and his co-author, Adam Grant, took baseline measurements of the amount of soap and disinfectant caregivers used in a large North Carolina hospital. Then they measured the change in soap use when they put up different signs by the dispensers. One sign read “Hand Hygiene Prevents You from Catching Diseases.” Another read “Hand Hygiene Prevents Patients from Catching Diseases.” And a third sign, which served as a control, had a generic message: “Gel In, Wash Out.”



Recommendation for all hospitals to post signage to remind doctors they wash to protect patients. Results produced :

  • The patient-focused sign produced a 33 percent increase in the amount of soap and disinfectant used per dispenser over a two-week period, compared with the other signs.
  • In a second phase of the study, trained observers recorded how often doctors and nurses physically washed or disinfected their hands. The sign urging doctors to think about patients produced a roughly 10 percent spike in hand washing compliance, a jump that was small but statistically significant.

  • Hand washing practices are directly correlated to infection rates. Considering the possibility of MRSA antibiotic resistent bacteria, reminder signage can have positive results.