Though the compliance study was only monitored over two weeks, just two weeks of increased adherence can be meaningful, the study authors say. Just how meaningful? The annual impact of successful signage can have a six-digit payoff.
"We estimated the number of infections prevented in the experimental conditions to be between two and nine, at a cost savings in the range of $9,000 to $30,000 [during the two weeks]," the study says. "This is a substantial return on investment considering the minimal costs of printing and posting signs."
If the increased adherence were sustained for a year across the hospital, the potential benefits include preventing over 100 infections and saving over $300,000, according to the study. Signage savings can add up for hospitals looking to lower bottom lines.
Hand washing can seem like a no-brainer. As it turns out, the answer to this simple problem is a simple solution---a message that hits physicians over the head: Do it for the patients!
The payoff amounts to saved lives, saved dollars, and saving-face.