1Healthscope, 312 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, firstname.lastname@example.org
Infection prevention is a critical part of an overarching quality and safety clinical governance system. However, as with all aspects of clinical governance, there is a dilemma about what exactly should be reported, monitored and improved. There are hundreds of potential clinical indicators and systems needing improvement, and varied opinions about which are the highest priority. However, reporting infection prevention indicators to Executive and Board is essential. But which ones?
When selecting priorities, the following factors need to be considered:
- The consumer perspective
- The highest risks in a particular healthcare setting
- Requirements of funders, government & external stakeholders
- Industry standards
- Board/Executive preferences
- Available data collection systems
Obstacles to an optimally designed infection prevention program include prescriptive standards and external requirements that focus attention on areas that may not otherwise be a priority. We grapple with indicators and targets externally imposed by multiple jurisdictions with variable definitions and data collection methods for the same measure. Health services can spend inordinate amounts of time on external ideas of quality, rather than problems that are more locally relevant. The focus on aggregated measures of quality can result in oversimplification of infection prevention into one or two indicators reported publicly, or at Board or funder level.
Hospital Acquired Complication (HAC) rate can be a useful measure of aggregate clinical outcome for Board/Executive reporting that incorporates healthcare associated infection. It is important to communicate infection indicators in a way that assists Board and Executive understanding. Effective communication of how infection prevention fits into the overall clinical governance program is a goal we should all aim for to inspire our Executives and Boards to continually improve patient outcomes.