Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) affect one in 25 patients according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing these incidents is one of the most effective ways health care facility managers can improve patient outcomes and decrease costs.
While it can be tempting to see HAIs as an issue for epidemiologists and disease control specialists alone, everyone on staff plays a role. Studies show staff behaviors, such as curbing antibiotic use and improving sanitation practices, can help cut infection rates by up to 70 percent.
You’ve talked with employees about core prevention practices. Still, habits are hard to change. Traditional routes such as education and alerts don’t always improve employee compliance. If you’re serious about improving patient outcomes and operations by controlling HAIs, you need to evaluate how your organization delivers services. You need a communications plan that conveys behavior-changing messages to your employees.
How does internal communications impact employee behavior?
A well-researched, well-executed internal communications strategy engages employees and builds community around shared goals. It helps influence actions and attitudes by providing consistent reinforcement for desired behaviors.
A solid plan starts by establishing organizational goals and identifying the target audiences and appropriate channels for your message.
Healthcare teams have complex dynamics. Nurses, physicians, pharmacists and even the building maintenance staff all play a role in HAI prevention strategies. Each of these groups needs to be targeted in unique ways to engage all of them. Track and analyze the outcome of your efforts to see whether you’re driving results among all employees or in just one group, or if you need to revisit your communications plan to see more positive outcomes.
How can the right messaging impact the spread of HAIs?
Effective content strategy thrives on audience participation. It empowers staff members to model desired behaviors to their teammates. Studies indicate this kind of peer-to-peer leadership is essential to improving HAI prevention practices. Here are a few examples:
- Nursing home staff dramatically reduced incidents of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), one of the most common HAIs, by emphasizing teamwork, communication and online peer-to-peer instruction.
- Organizations with peer-to-peer leadership were more likely to effectively engage in HAI prevention practices.
- Physicians in Boston and Los Angeles improved antibiotic prescribing practices—a critical part of HAI prevention—after receiving regular emails comparing their performance with the performance of their peers.
Your internal communications strategy helps ensure your organization delivers on its promises. If patient safety is central to your brand, HAI prevention should be a priority.
Want to talk about how the right messaging helps achieve critical change? Email us or call (317) 631-6400.