According to the CDC, HAIs are contracted by an estimated 1.7 million patients annually and are responsible for 99,000 deaths each year in the U.S. (1) All patients are at risk of contracting a healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) while being treated for another medical or surgical condition. (2)
Fortunately, many infections are preventable when healthcare workers follow recommended protocols. Infection prevention is a scientific approach and practical solution designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and healthcare workers. (3) Establishing infection prevention and control programs in healthcare facilities can help protect the most vulnerable patients from unnecessary harm. It is essential for organizations to be proactive in their efforts to prevent the spread of infection. (4)
Up to 70 percent of healthcare- acquired infections could be prevented if healthcare workers followed recommended protocols. (5)
How can healthcare organizations take a more proactive approach towards infection prevention?
1. Allocate a Budget for Infection Prevention and Control
Having a budget for infection prevention and control is important for prioritizing funding for services, supplies, equipment, and any other expenses requiring operating funds. The budget allocated for an infection control program should support both an adequate number of personnel to execute improvement efforts as well as the scope and complexity of program activities. (6) For instance, healthcare organizations may want to include in the budget funding for a software solution that helps track the effectiveness of infection control measures such as hand hygiene rounding.
With HAIs costing the U.S. healthcare system up to $45 billion each year, the benefits of implementing an infection control solution can drastically outweigh the initial costs of implementation. (2)
Infection control can be considered a revenue-saving program if an organization shows infection reduction year after year. Resources saved can then be reinvested into further improvements to the program, such as advanced staff training or new patient care equipment. (7)
2. Implement Quality & Performance Improvement Rounding
Implementing a real-time monitoring, measuring, and reporting solution for clinical rounding can help organizations reduce preventable healthcare-acquired infections. A quality & performance improvement solution allows leadership teams to quickly and easily conduct rounding on areas like hand hygiene protocol or proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
An effective solution for infection control and prevention is one that supports robust analysis and visualization tools. (8) Utilizing tools such as customized dashboards with drill-through analytics allows care providers to turn vast amounts of infection control data into actionable plans that drive improved results.
3. Educate Staff Members About the Importance of Infection Prevention
Staff should be aware that failure to properly control infection is one of the greatest threats to the health of both healthcare professionals and their patients. Through a comprehensive training program, employees can increase knowledge and practical skills about infectious diseases and their prevention. (9)
Education and training can (9):
- Encourage prompt recognition, reporting, and management of potentially infectious illnesses
- Decrease exposures among healthcare workers
- Facilitate control of infectious outbreaks
- Ensure adherence to federal, state, and local requirements
- Ensure employees become familiar with organizational policies and procedures
- Increase acceptance of immunizations
An effective training program should periodically review healthcare workers’ exposure data to identify high-risk populations. This allows leadership to provide refresher infection prevention and control education and training as it is needed. (9)
With the rise of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in recent years, it is critical that healthcare organizations take a proactive approach towards infection control and prevention to provide the safest possible environment for both patients and staff.
Performance Health Partners Solutions
Performance Health Partners Rounding Solutions places patients first and helps organizations drastically improve quality of care. Streamlined reporting, real-time notifications and alerts, and smart analytics empower healthcare organizations to take a data-informed approach towards infection control and prevention.