November 30, 2009

Complaints foster compliance

Sometimes you have to get mean.

Sometimes you have to get mean.

If your communications department has been enlisted to shore up compliance with hand hygiene requirements (pre- and post-patient contact), take a lesson from Denver Health. As reported in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare, Colorado’s primary “safety net” institution tried humor, incentives, prizes — but nothing worked until they got mean. They put a button on the home page of their intranet so employees could report offenders anonymously. Communication professionals are taught to rely on positive messaging to initiate change. But the Denver example shows that sometimes you have to slap a few hands to get them washed.

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