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Identifying management practices for promoting infection prevention: Perspectives on strategic communication

  • Ann Scheck McAlearney
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Ann Scheck McAlearney, ScD, MS, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, 460 Medical Center Drive, Suite 530, Columbus, OH 43210.
    Affiliations
    Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

    The Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

    Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Sarah R. MacEwan
    Affiliations
    The Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Megan E. Gregory
    Affiliations
    The Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

    Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Lindsey N. Sova
    Affiliations
    The Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Courtney Hebert
    Affiliations
    Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

    Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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  • Alice A. Gaughan
    Affiliations
    The Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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Published:December 06, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2021.11.025

      Highlights

      • Engaging leaders across hospitals can help prevent healthcare-associated infections.
      • Strategic sharing of information can highlight both facilitators of and barriers to success in infection prevention.
      • The practice of storytelling also allows leaders to elicit emotion, provide education, and acknowledge success in infection prevention.
      • Organizations and leaders should consider the different strategic communication approaches to advance their infection prevention efforts.

      ABSTRACT

      Background

      Engaging leaders to share information about infections and infection prevention across their organizations is known to be important in initiatives designed to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Yet the topics and communication strategies used by leaders that focus on HAI prevention are not well understood. This study aimed to identify and describe practices around information sharing used to support HAI prevention.

      Methods

      We visited 18 U.S. hospitals between 2017 and 2019 and interviewed 188 administrative and clinical leaders to ask about management practices they used to facilitate HAI prevention. Interview transcripts were analyzed to characterize practices involving strategic communications.

      Results

      Sharing information to support infection prevention involved strategic communications around two main topics: (1) facilitators of success and best practices, and (2) barriers to success and lessons learned. In addition, the practice of storytelling reportedly allowed leaders to highlight impact and elicit emotion, provide education, and acknowledge success in infection prevention by providing examples of real events.

      Conclusions

      Our findings provide insight about how strategic communication of information around HAIs and HAI prevention can be used to support improvement. Organizations and leaders should consider the different opportunities to incorporate the practice of strategic communication, including using storytelling, to advance their infection prevention efforts.

      Key Words

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