Supporting Common Goals: Bringing Together Risk and Infection Teams

October 25, 2017 Anjali Arya

When the CDC describes Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) it characterizes them as infections patients can get while receiving treatment in a healthcare facility. 

They also acknowledge that a percentage of these infections are a preventable threat to patient safety. 

As HAIs become more complicated, synergy between risk management and infection prevention teams becomes more critical. Evolving pathogens will continue to present ever-evolving challenges to these healthcare teams. In order to grow and continue to improve quality of care and patient safety, collaboration is key. 

Bringing together risk and infection 

In the webinar, Mitigating Risk Through Infection Prevention, Yves Crehore, RN and Product Manager at RL Solutions, says that infection prevention teams are being increasingly recognized as partners in risk management. These teams are auditing for compliance monitoring and proactively reviewing processes and procedures to avert potential litigation. 

These applications and concepts of risk management in infection prevention can assist teams to help healthcare leaders set priorities. Crehore says, "Effective infection control practices use a "risk" lens to understand the more global concerns of healthcare leaders and communities." This collaboration between teams allows infection prevention and control teams to effectively combine IPC audit processes and risk mitigation to achieve goals through on-going measurement and process improvement. 

Why collaboration? 

The benefits of collaboration in healthcare are great. When it comes to encouraging a cross-team approach to infection prevention, an article from Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control astutely says: 

"Reducing the outbreak and/or spread of germs and diseases is an objective belonging to all employees of the hospital, right down to the frontline workers." 

The potential for collaborative work in infection prevention goes beyond the link between risk and infection. Research has explored the value of promoting collaboration between infection prevention and control teams (ICP) and environmental services. The CDC provides guidelines for environmental infection control in healthcare facilities. Promoting and empowering these types of relationships has led to positive results, including lower rates of HAIs and lower antibiotic resistance rates. 

Collaboration can also correspond with an uptick in the adoption of ICP programs, which can be quite slow. For example, research shows that "hand hygiene compliance routinely registers in the 40 percent range" despite efforts that promote it as one of the easiest ways to prevent infection. Creating an organizational context and culture that supports the implementation of ICP programs as an organization-wide initiative can help reinforce their importance as common goals that are critical to safety and quality of care. 

How are you encouraging collaboration to support infection prevention? 

To learn more about strategies to unlock the potential of your IP teams, check out our whitepaper. 

 

About the Author

As part of the marketing team at RL, Anjali is passionate about innovation in healthcare. When she's not learning about new client initiatives or helping to plan RL Palooza, you can find her escaping to her next adventure.

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