Banner's momentum blueprint

Every year, Banner Health's senior leadership team and board of directors decide on systemwide initiatives across a plethora of areas, from infection prevention work to customer experience. Leaders told Becker's the key to success is sustaining momentum. 

In 2019, leaders of the 30-hospital system launched an initiative to lower surgical site infections. Four years later, it achieved a 32.8% drop in SSIs for hip replacements, a 51.2% reduction in SSIs for knee replacements, and a 17.4% decrease in SSIs for colorectal surgeries and abdominal hysterectomy procedures. 

The Phoenix-based system also noted a decrease in length of stay by four days, a 4.4% decline in mortality rates and 3.9% fewer readmission rates for more than 57,000 operations. 

Hospital workers are swamped, and a growing number of them are burnt out. At the same time, organizations are plunging into long-term strategies to lower healthcare-associated infections, which hit a significant high in 2021 and 2022. To capture buy-in and maintain involvement from employees, Banner preserved a monthly cadence of touchpoints, according to Joan Ivaska, DrPH, executive director of infection prevention. 

"There are routine check-ins with leaders designated at each facility to ensure that we can address questions and barriers and we're making the progress that we want to see," she told Becker's

Between 2019 and 2023, adherence to the SSI bundle grew from 67.1% to 82.2% across the system that spans six states. Leaders are continuously reevaluating literature to update the bundle, according to Aarikha D'Souza, an infection prevention regional director at Banner. 

Upholding engagement in a systemwide strategy is not rare as much as it is difficult because of competing priorities, Dr. Ivaska said, adding that Banner's success can be traced to its infrastructure behind initiatives. 

"Our SSI work, the sustainment that we've seen after the annual initiative … really is an encouragement for some of the other types of initiatives we have across the system," she said. "Instead of it just being an annual initiative, and then you move on to the next thing, this is how we do our work in providing safe surgical care across our enterprise."

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