Behavioral Science and the Symmetry Hand Hygiene Program

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The Symmetry Behavior Modification System (SBMS) is part of what makes the Symmetry® Hand Hygiene Program unique. While other hand hygiene lines simply provide products, Symmetry works to develop a complete program that inspires better hand hygiene practices. Behavioral science has been key to developing tools any facility can use to encourage users to keep their hands clean.

Many major manufacturers employ people with PhDs in Behavioral Science to identify and capitalize on various stimuli that influence our behavior and, ultimately, lead us to purchasing their products. Behavioral science is behind the strategic placement of candy in checkout lanes at stores. Children can easily spot and grab candy while waiting for their parents to checkout. Once a candy bar is in a child’s hands, the likelihood that it will be purchased goes up significantly.

Symmetry worked with Dr. Adam Alter to discover ways behavioral science could be used to promote better hand hygiene. Dr. Alter has a PhD in Behavioral Science and is the New York Times best-selling author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave. Together, Symmetry and Dr. Alter created the Symmetry Behavior Modification System.

Unlike negative motivators, SBMS is based on six key tenets that offer a positive approach designed to inspire. Symmetry’s six tenets are benevolence, responsibility, accountability, variation, emotion, and direction. Each tenet offers a unique way to drive compliance.

Symmetry’s Behavior Modification tools include variety in dispensers. Symmetry dispensers come in various colors and can even be customized with your facility’s logo and colors. Dispensers can also be fitted with Visual Lighting Cues (VLCS). VLCS flash periodically to draw attention to dispensers and encourage an immediate hand hygiene event.

In addition to attention-drawing dispensers, Symmetry provides Behavior Modification placards. These cards sit atop dispensers and are customized with inspiring messages like, “Support Healthy Hands. It Only Takes 20 Seconds.” They are designed to be placed on dispensers throughout a facility to provide variation. The more variation in dispensers, the more likely it is that a user will notice an opportunity to sanitize or wash hands.

Finally, Symmetry provides floor decals in the shape of Happy Feet Biscuit Paws (a reference to the Symmetry Hand Hygiene Program’s mascot Biscuit, the Paw Washing Dog), or custom options. Floor decals can be used to guide users towards dispensers and drive hand hygiene practices.

These added features can mean the difference between an effective hand hygiene program and an average hand hygiene program. Providing high quality products is just part of improving hand hygiene practices in any facility. Symmetry takes their program one step further by providing behavior modification tools to encourage users to take advantage of the high-quality hand hygiene products they have available to them. To find out how Symmetry can customize their Behavior Modification System to fit your facility, contact your local Buckeye representative.

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