Welfare Technology and Nudging – how and why it works

An OPI-project from The City of Aarhus set out to nudge the users of public buildings into becoming active co-creators of a more healthy and clean environment.

The Objective

Today, many resources are spent on cleaning public buildings as to create healthy and nice spaces for the users. More often than not, the cleaning takes place in the morning, but this has proven to be a challenge, health-wise, because the buildings are used during the day and will therefore gradually become the ground-zero for bacterial dispersion. The spread of infections from critical surfaces costs society billions yearly in relation to absenteeism.


Purpose

The project sought to develop and test a solution that would make users of public buildings take responsibility for their own and others’ health and well-being, and get them to think about how they use the common space.

OPI-project (public/private innovation partnership)

City of Aarhus and the consultancy firm Conceptmaking joined forces in an innovation partnership to create a cleaner and healthier environment in public buildings. Different disciplines were involved including a hygiene nurse from “Sundhed & Omsorg” and health visitor from “Børn & Unge”. The solution, that was tested in a 5th grade at N.J. Fjordsgades School, is an intelligent system that includes an intelligent wet wipe dispenser that flashes to indicate to users when it is time to wipe down critical contact surfaces.

Educational aspects

The OPI-project also included the development of a course for the children aimed at increasing their interest in and knowledge about hygiene and health. In addition, a digital user platform was developed to help motivate the users to participate through elements such as gamification and feedback. The ambition was to create a complete solution that increases users’ ability to act constructively in relation to health awareness and health-promoting behavior in relation to themselves and others.

Result

Two main conclusions were drawn in the newly published report:

1) It is possible to motivate and include teachers and pupils in the cleaning of critical contact contact surfaces.

2) Given the pre- and post-measurements, the level of hygiene has markedly increased. It is assumed that these results can clear the way for gains in the form of reduced absenteeism and lead to an improved work environment for both kids and adults.

Additionally, there is a lot more to gain from this: e.g. visually cleaner surfaces and less dirt on floors; less mess in the classroom, increased knowledge of hygiene and better treatment of the inventory in the classroom.

More information / articles (In Danish)

Video / Zurface
Patient@Home programme / Intro
The City of Aarhus Project Report / Zurface_OPI-rapporten
The City of Aarhus Project / Summary
Sundhedsplejersken (Danish Magasin) / Sundhedsplejersken_2017_Zurface_1