Healthcare facilities play a vital role in the battle against infection prevention — especially as bacterial resistance seems to grow with each passing day. Here’s how some top healthcare facilities have been leading the charge against this challenge:
Infection-fighting best practices
The success of any infection-prevention program lies in how well care providers comply with tried-and-tested best practices. As we’ve outlined in a previous article, these best practices include:
- Good Hand Hygiene: Simple hand hygiene practices have proven successful in reducing incidences of potentially expensive-to-manage, even dangerous, infections. Consistent hygienic behavior can be as simple as correct hand washing. Compliance has been encouraged in some healthcare systems with monitoring systems to great effect. Denver Health Medical Center (DMHC) staff, as highlighted by Healthcare IT News, wear a device that tracks metrics like the use of soap & waterless hand sanitizer dispensers. This helps them ensure people wash their hands 60 seconds before and after entering and leaving a room. They’ve reported an increase in adherence to hand hygiene protocol from 40 to 70% throughout the hospital!
- Social Behavior Modification: A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that the biggest motivating factor that got healthcare workers to change their behavior was knowing how something improved patient safety and clinical outcomes. Whether someone personally adopted HAI reduction protocols wasn’t about following rules or avoiding penalties — what mattered most was how well they understood that their new behavior would help keep their patients safe.
- Immunization: As confirmed in Clinical Pharmacist, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced if healthcare workers are appropriately immunized against infectious diseases. This protects them and their patients. The Department of Health recommends that those involved in direct patient care be up to date with routine immunizations, as well as those for BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin), hepatitis B, influenza, and varicella.
- Incorporation of Appropriate Technology: Top hospital technologies that exist to help reduce the spread of HAIs include setting-specific tools, gloves, eyewear, and apparel. These may seem a lot simpler than DHMC’s hand hygiene monitor, but looks can be deceptive. Infection prevention technology such as gloves and apparel can take careful engineering to ensure they’re effective. For instance, properly tested and manufactured gloves are foundational to any infection prevention/control program. Meanwhile, correctly using setting-specific tools ensures that you’re always matching the correct infection prevention technology to the appropriate care setting.
Infection prevention projects
These practices are being spearheaded in care settings as part of a number of innovative programs. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorites:
- The Joint Commission Hand Hygiene Project: This program includes eight hospitals from across the country. These were selected because they had a pre-existing Robust Process Improvement (RPI) program in place for hand hygiene. They use Lean Six Sigma methodologies for quality control.
- Improved Compliance Approaches: According to this Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection control article, twenty hospitals effectively address issues on infection prevention with a combination of high- and low-tech approaches. These include a combination of reminders such as posters and videos, behavioral monitors such as individual peer observers, and positive and negative incentives such as monetary rewards for compliance.
- Cone Health: This hospital was recognized by IBM Watson Health in 2018 as a Top 100 Hospital, for its work in infection prevention. After making HAI prevention a strategic priority, they implemented a system that, for example, screens patients for Staphylococcus aureus before scheduled procedures. Carriers are treated proactively to prevent infection during care. Simple systemic changes such as that has seen a reduction in the hospital’s rate of MRSA and surgical-site infections.
- The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA): According to Infection Control Today, the SHEA provides guidance to healthcare practitioners hoping to make a business case for infection prevention. While patient outcomes is front and center, the potential cost savings of an effective infection prevention system can be a driving force in gaining support from business and financial leaders in an institution. Their support helps infection control teams to justify requests regarding changes to, or expansions of their program.
Partner with infection prevention specialists you can trust
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