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Promoting Hand Hygiene

In partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, Emily Carr’s Health Design Lab launched the Hand Hygiene project. This collaboration aimed to stimulate a behaviour change in the usage of hand-sanitizer dispensers and embed them as an integral part of daily life in the hospital. Using human-centred participatory methodologies, design research for this project involved co-creation workshops with health care personnel which fostered an empathic design solution. A team of student designers  gained core insights into the cause of low hand hygiene compliance.

The results varied widely. In the end, VCH selected two projects for implementation, one print based and one interactive.  Prototypes are currently installed at Vancouver General Hospital. The first includes humour as a core part of its message and such unusual (for a hospital) outcomes as elevator wraps. This project was managed by faculty Gilly Mah, and designed by students Katie Blank, Caitrin Wooton, and Tia Blunden.


The second is an interaction design that reaches users at the point of decision. By installing an Arduino device in a hygiene dispenser, we were able to connect the dispenser to a computer and large overhead monitor. The act of sterilizing one’s hands now triggers an amusing “bloop” sound and a graphic of a hand on the monitor. The hand slowly fades and becomes added to a graphic of all the other hands sterilized that day. This project was led by faculty Haig Armen, assisted by technician Bobbi Kozinuk and Jesse Scott, and created and conceptualized by students Gina Hetland, Cohen Pedersen-Wood, Grey Vaisius, Jill Southern, and Brandon Visser.

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