Viewpoint: CEOs, infection preventionists merit 'best friend' status

Healthcare CEOs may be overlooking a vital ally in their quest to enhance organizational outcomes: infection preventionists, one expert wrote in a March 5 op-ed for Fast Company.

Leaders who do not regularly interact with this role are missing out on opportunities to improve safety and boost financial performance while also protecting their organization's reputation, Devin Jopp, EdD, CEO of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology, wrote in the op-ed.

A strong infection prevention strategy protects patient and staff members from harm, helps organizations avoid CMS penalties and can improve throughput, as patients who develop healthcare-associated infections have longer lengths of stay, he argued. 

Based on these benefits, healthcare CEOs should make infection preventionists their "best friend," Dr. Jopp said. Leaders should carve out time to regularly meet with their lead infection preventionist; ensure infection prevention teams have adequate staffing, resources and training; and invite infection prevention leaders to C-suite or board meetings when appropriate, he added. 

"IPs are a tremendous ally of the CEO in helping to build infection-safe facilities," Dr. Jopp wrote. "If you've not done so already, take time to get to know your IP, start engaging them, and nurture the relationship to leverage the immense talent and expertise that they have. The results will most certainly pay dividends."

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