Healthcare Case Study

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Healthcare acquired infections (HAI) are a significant public health threat, impacting one out of every twenty-five hospital patients,1 and have a significant financial impact through increased costs of care and treatment and risk to federal reimbursement through value based purchasing. Healthcare organizations are increasingly focused on reduction and elimination of infection, and infection preventionists (IPs) are often challenged by their organizational leadership to with “fix the HAI problem.”

APIC’s long term vision is healthcare without infection,2 but meeting this is not a simple problem to solve. To be effective in changing care and improving patient outcomes, IPs need to understand the epidemiology of infection, patient care
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Planning: define the scope of the project, potential risks, activities that will occur, deliverables at completion, and parameters for timeline, cost, resources needed, and quality required; assign responsibility for project tasks and activities; gain final approval for project
3. Executing: launch project and complete project tasks and activities
4. Monitoring and Controlling: compare actual progress and performance on project activities to planned performance on goals, budget and timelines; implement corrective actions as needed; communicate progress, successes and barriers
5. Completion and Closing: complete final project activities, identify outstanding tasks and develop a plan for completion, review what went well and any failures; prepare a final report summarizing project actions and measurement against estimated budget, timelines and goals

These phases closely parallel the DMAIC performance improvement framework (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) that many IPs and healthcare quality professionals regularly utilize for performance improvement and change management.

Infection preventionists are frequently leaders on performance improvement or other projects that focus on patient safety and reducing risk of infection. Project management skills, paired with performance improvement and change management skills can help IPs be more successful in driving changes in care practices and

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