Bottom-to-top training essential to reducing hospital infections

A national network of safety-net hospitals, the Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN), has prevented 1,184 harmful events and saved nearly $12 million through a federal initiative to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and preventable readmissions, according to an announcement.

The EHEN is one of 26 networks included in the public-private Partnership for Patients (PfP), established under the Affordable Care Act with a goal reduce nine hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent nationwide by the end of 2013.

It has taken a two-pronged approach to achieving these results over an 18-month period:

  • Coaching and educating frontline clinical staff
  • Training hospitals' executive teams to foster a culture of patient safety

As FierceHealthcare reported previously, one way hospitals have begun delivering infection-control education to employees is through the use of social media, including YouTube videos. From flash mobs to musical dream sequences, these videos make this very serious issue fun--and, more importantly, memorable, FHC editors wrote.

But for patient safety to truly become part of a hospital's culture, leaders need to be engaged in the initiative as well, EHEN contends.

"We believe our harm reduction strategy, which aims to improve quality from the top down and from the bottom up, has helped our hospitals lay the groundwork for continued improvement in patient safety in the months and years to come," EHEN Project Director Sarah Callahan said in the announcement.

Research has also found that a team-based approach is extremely effective in reducing patient harm. Under a collaboration between the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and the South Carolina Hospital Association for example, CEOs and executives from 20 hospitals meet regularly to help achieve zero patient harm, FierceHealthcare reported. As part of the program, participating hospitals also share lessons learned and targeted solutions to other healthcare organizations.

To learn more:
- read the announcement from the Essential Hospitals Engagement Network