“Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun.”
Infection Preventionists (IPs) play a critical role in ensuring that healthcare workers and patients are doing all the things they should to prevent infections. However, an important job like this is never easy. Improving hand hygiene is an integral part of reducing hospital acquire infections (HAIs) and IPs must consistently focus on improving compliance within facilities. Recognised hurdles for low compliance are lack of time, forgetfulness, wrong technique, and lack of motivation (1). However, perhaps gamified solutions can help change this?
What is gamification?
Although it is a term that is being used more and more, there is often a misunderstanding regarding its true meaning. Gamification of education is a developing approach for increasing learners’ motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements in educational environments (2). Gamified learning aims at stimulating people’s intrinsic motivation in doing an activity by making it rewarding (1). As a result of its ability to capture our attention and motivate us to learn, it can be perceived as the perfect solution for behaviour change in healthcare. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is gaining momentum within the healthcare sector as it can be seen to improve hand hygiene, reduce HAIs and improve patient outcomes.
Changing organisational behaviour through fun and positive training
Typically, hand hygiene training has not been delivered in a game like format. Nevertheless, with technological advancements, this is now a possibility. It has always proved difficult to generate enthusiasm and engagement in IPC training as the traditional classroom setting is not the most exciting and engaging approach to learning. However, gamified solutions can completely change this by creating friendly competitions, leader-boards between departments and different interactive training levels. This creates a positive approach to training that is fun, interactive, and motivational. To change organisational behaviour, we need to encourage it and the best with to do this is in a positive fun way.
“Gamification helps learners stay interested and real-time feedback ensures correct technique. The final step happens when learning becomes so embedded that the behaviour becomes automatic”
Director of The Learnovate Centre Nessa McEniff (3)
Gamification may sound great in theory, but we need an easy and convenient solution to implement it. SureWash incorporates game dynamics through levels and encourages friendly competitions through the addition of leader boards. Over the multiple learning levels, the SureWash technology progressively builds muscle memory for the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol. These levels add game dynamics to the process of hand hygiene training while also providing real-time feedback. They are of increasing complexity and are intended to motivate staff, patients, and visitors to develop the skill of hand hygiene. Therefore, users do not have to consciously think about the process anymore, it becomes automatic. The director of The Learnovate Centre expresses that “gamification helps learners stay interested and real-time feedback ensures correct technique. The final step happens when learning becomes so embedded that the behaviour becomes automatic”. (3)
SureWash was utilised as part of a study to determine whether using an automated training programme and audit tool as part of a multi-modal strategy would improve hand hygiene compliance and technique in an acute healthcare setting. Findings conveyed that the use of gaming technology to provide education and assessment not only improved technique, but also increased compliance with the Five Moments for hand hygiene across the hospital. However, it’s important to note that it is not a replacement for education, audit with feedback and reminders in the clinical area. Fundamentally, it is a tool to capture the imagination of staff and engage healthcare workers in learning. Therefore, it has a major role to play in a multi-faceted hand hygiene programme. (4)
To learn more about Surewash’s gamified hand hygiene training, get in contact with us today: https://surewash.com/contact-us/
- Lapão LV, Marques R, Gregório J, Pinheiro F, Póvoa P, Mira da Silva M. (2016) “Using Gamification Combined with Indoor Location to Improve Nurses’ Hand Hygiene Compliance in an ICU Ward.” Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27071865/
- Dichev, C., Dicheva, D. (2017) “Gamifying education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review.” Available at: https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-017-0042-5
- Kennedy, J. (2020. “SureWash gamifies handwashing to fight Covid-19 cleanly.” Available at: https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/surewash-hand-hygeine-handwashing-covid19-ar-app/
- A. Higgins, M.M. Hannan. (2013) “Improved hand hygiene technique and compliance in healthcare workers using gaming technology.” Available at: https://surewash.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Higgins-and-Hannan-2013.pdf