Hygiene campaign for the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE, University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf).
Or: How mutual attentiveness can boost compliance with hygiene guidelines.

Every year around 900,000 people are infected in German hospitals. Most of these infections could be avoided if hygiene guidelines were always followed.

In order to raise compliance to hygiene rules, we developed a communication campaign for the UKE that promotes a collective awareness of the importance of hygiene in hospital operation and its effect on patient safety among staff, patients, and visitors.

The campaign idea had to address all target groups – from the cleaning staff to physicians, from visitors to patients – and treat hygiene as a collective responsibility. At the same time, we wanted to avoid stoking fear in patients and their family members, giving them instead an additional feeling of security.

The goal was to increase awareness for the importance of hygiene by openly promoting communication between all participants and creating an environment of joint mindfulness. Hygiene in hospitals was and is an outcome based on teamwork

Job: Develop a communication concept to increase compliance with hygiene regulations

Client: University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) )

Services: Employee workshops, campaign development for internal and external communication

Indication/Topic: Hospital germs, nosocomial infections, hygiene compliance


Hygiene is essential and affects everyone. The slogan of the campaign was therefore “Hygiene im UKE. Ohne Wenn und Aber!” (Hygiene in the UKE. No ifs, ands, or buts!) It presents real “UKE faces” and the headlines use humor, and plain, clear language to refer to everyday situations in the hospital.

The concept was based on the outcome of workshops that included all employee groups. We were able to raise the authenticity and the staff’s identification with the topic and increase their motivation to act. The campaign and its components were designed so that it could be implemented by the communication division of the UKE with internal resources and could be expanded without difficulty if needed.


Measures to communicate the need for greater hygiene at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) rest on four pillars:

One: Draw attention using posters, TV screens, and references on the UKE website, and in the Intranet

Two: Provide information in articles and interviews in the clinic and employee magazines, at professional conferences, and extensive material at info stands

Three: Place reminders in the hospital, such as start screens on internal systems, stickers and notices at important spots

Four: Motivate employees using a hygiene clock for everyone that replaces personal watches


The campaign stepped up the discussion of hygiene at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf. Attentiveness and joint reminders have increased across all hierarchical and professional levels. Numerous suggestions for improvements and ideas for new campaign motifs document the degree to which employees are taking responsibility for this subject. With the hygiene campaign at the UKE we achieved not only acceptance but also active participation.

For its commendable handling of this subject, the UKE received the KlinikAward in 2015 (Special Jury Prize, Silver).