Friday, March 9, 2012

Organizational Culture and Infection Prevention

The other day, during the course of a lecture at VCU Medical Center, I explored the impact of organizational culture on infection prevention efforts. Organizational culture, or, the attitudes and customs defining the 'way things are done' in a given organization can have a tremendous impact, either positive or negative, on an infection prevention program.

Here is a paper recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control that explored the impact of organizational program on an MRSA control program. Not surprisingly, the authors identified 3 organizational culture elements, namely, 'feeling overwhelmed', 'staff engagement' and 'hospital leadership' as having significant impact on infection prevention knowledge, attitudes and self reported practices regarding MRSA prevention.

I have always felt that a key component of any infection prevention effort, apart from education, surveillance and staff 'buy in', is hospital leadership. Quite simply, if hospital leadership does not support and champion an initiative, and, if leadership does not demand accountability, then many initiatives are doomed for partial implementation and weak results.


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