Where Science Meets Muse

A New Approach to Education for Minimizing Healthcare Associated Infections

Posted by Plish on May 20, 2010

At any one time around the world, 1.4 million people are suffering from infections acquired in hospitals.  It adds almost 7 billion in cost per year to healthcare facilities and impacts families and people in tragic ways

Big Problem.

What really makes these infections even more tragic is that most of them are preventable through changes in behaviour.

To increase awareness and educate healthcare providers, Kimberly-Clark has started the “Not on My Watch” campaign.  Instead of waiting for institutions to train their employees, Kimberly-Clark is cruising around the country with the “HAI (Healthcare Associated Infection) Education Bus,” a mobile classroom bringing CE accredited courses right to the doorstep of hospitals.

Additional info videos are available on this website along with additional references.

Overall, this is a pretty slick idea to bring CE accredited courses to clinicians as opposed to them having to schedule time away from their work.  Kimberly-Clark should be applauded for their efforts in keeping HAI’s in the forefront of people’s minds.

There are two issues here though that could be improved upon.

First, there doesn’t seem to be any succinct, articulated goal.  Yes, the purpose here is to keep healthcare workers updated on the most current trends in infection management and to bring down the incidence of HAI’s.  But, nowhere is there an explicit goal as there was in the 5 Million Lives Campaign.  The use of the phrase, “Not on my watch,” while powerfully motivating to individuals to prevent HAI’s while they’re on the floor, has a built-in blame as in: “That happened on your watch,” when something happens.  Yes, blame can be a powerful motivator as well, but no one wants towork under fear.

Second, research has shown that educational campaigns are only as good as the systems into which they’re planted.  In other words, people learn and people forget.  Even when people know what the right thing to do is, pressures from hospital admins, superiors, patients and families, often result in the right thing not being done.  I’ve personally witnessed well-educated nurses doing the wrong thing more times than I, or anyone, would like to see.    A perusal of the Tools page , while full of treatment guidelines and recommendations, reveals little that most healthcare workers haven’t already been exposed to.  That said, it is helpful to have these all in one place.

So, is this a good thing that K-C is doing?  Of course! It’s admirable and good to educate. 

But, what would be really cool, and would probably have more impact, is to have a bus full of designers that goes from hospital to hospital teaching them how to apply tools like positive deviance in improving healthcare outcomes.

Hmmmm, I wonder where I can get a bus….


2 Responses to “A New Approach to Education for Minimizing Healthcare Associated Infections”

  1. This is really great news. This is a wonderful way to educate our caregivers.

  2. Plish said

    Thanks for the comment. Any time people are being educated it’s a good thing.

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