Can increased leadership rounds lead to a reduction of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in hospitals? A recently conducted study published in the American Journal of Infection Control reveals that it might.

Healthcare associated infections are complications of healthcare linked with high morbidity and mortality. Many are caused by the most urgent and serious antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria and may lead to sepsis or death. It is estimated that one in every 25 patients in the United States is diagnosed with a healthcare-associated infection.

The Study

Evidence-based guidelines exist to reduce HAIs. However, truly reducing HAIs has its barriers. Experts are focusing on how to implement possible solutions in the healthcare setting, through healthcare leaders, who play a prominent role in implementation.

Performed at a large academic hospital, this study examines HAI leadership rounds, led by two hospital leaders on 19 units. Leadership rounds are a tool that can be used to connect leaders with frontline staff. All events were recorded and examined for themes.

What can Hospital Leaders do to Reduce HAIs?

During these rounds, staff members communicated unit-specific problems and enthusiastically engaged in problem solving with hospital leaders. These themes were identified over 350 times during 22 rounds.

Additionally, leaders used words that demonstrated fallibility and curiosity, which are factors that are associated with psychologic safety.

Implementing organized, specific communication tactics could be a factor in reducing barriers to safety. Ultimately, having open interactions between leaders and frontline staff, which enhances psychologic safety, may be effective in reducing HAIs in hospitals.

Leadership’s Responsibility in Effecting a Culture of Change

The involvement of leadership in healthcare organizations leading to improvements in patient safety and a culture of change is a commonly held principle that is growing in traction. For example, last March, TJC issued Sentinel Event Alert 57, which revealed that leadership’s failure to create an effective safety culture is a contributing factor to many types of adverse events – from wrong site surgery to delays in treatment. A strong safety culture begins with leadership, and healthcare leaders must prioritize patient safety and demonstrate a commitment to the organization’s safety culture through everyday actions.


If you’re concerned about your organization’s overall culture of safety, Compass can help. For a confidential discussion about your organization’s needs, contact Mark Reifsteck, MHA, FACHE, Managing Director, at (513) 241.0142 or info@compass-clinical.com.

 

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