|Contact: Shannon Quinn
|Leadership rounds foster culture that reduces healthcare-associated infections|
Arlington, Va., April 24, 2018 – Senior executive meetings with frontline healthcare staff may contribute to patient safety by elevating critical problems and encouraging open dialogue that can solve problems and sustain best practices for reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), according to a new study in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The study identifies key structural characteristics and leader communication tactics that can be employed in healthcare facilities through such leadership rounds (LRs), including engaging with staff honestly and transparently while asking probing questions that encourage a free flow of information. These behaviors empower staff to express themselves with leadership, a form of psychologic safety, and reduce barriers to moving HAI prevention theory into practice within a complex setting.
“By fostering an open culture, health leaders are able to problem solve with frontline staff to determine barriers to implementation,” said Mary Jo Knobloch, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author. “This presents the opportunity to move evidence to practice and better protect patients from harm.”
The research team explored unit-based HAI leadership rounds led by two hospital leaders within University of Wisconsin Health, University Hospital and the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. The study population included hospital executive leaders, infection preventionists, and frontline staff. LRs and key informant interviews were conducted across 19 units, amounting to 22 recorded observations over a period of 7 months.
Among the findings:
LRs have historically proven to connect senior leaders with frontline patient safety issues and advance a culture of safety, but this study is the first to explore the connection between the use of LRs for reducing HAIs.
“As healthcare-associated infections continue to affect 1 in 25 hospitalized patients, it is critical that every facility engage with unit-level care providers to understand why infections occur and what can be done to prevent them in the future,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “This research shows that healthcare leaders can and should be actively listening to frontline staff through HAI leadership rounds, problem-solving with them in real-time on ways to integrate best practices into daily unit operations.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
“Leadership rounds to reduce health care-associated infections,” by Mary Jo Knobloch, Betty Chewning, Jackson Musuuza, Susan Rees, Christopher Green, Erin Patterson, and Nasia Safdar, appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 46, Issue 3 (March 2018).
Mary Jo Knobloch, PhD, MPH
Betty Chewning, PhD
Jackson Musuuza, MD, PhD
Susan Rees, DNP, RN, CPHQ, CENP
Christopher Green, MD
Erin Patterson, PhD
Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD
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