How a Novant Health hospital reduced infections by 70%

Salisbury, N.C.-based Novant Health Rowan Medical Center celebrated a 70 percent decrease in hospital-acquired infections since 2016, and as of Oct. 27, the hospital had no infections for the month, according to the Salisbury Post.

Hospital staff worked to decrease the number of infections in several ways, including hand-washing campaigns that focused on what would be easiest for physicians, said Dari Caldwell, PhD, RN, president of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center.

"We really listen to our team members," Dr. Caldwell said. "When we went with a real focus around hand washing and we would talk to our team members about it, they would show us it would be a lot easier to wash our hands if we had a hand-washing dispenser here where we didn't have one. We really listened to our front-line team around where they needed the hand-washing devices."

Other infection control methods included receiving an ultraviolet disinfection system, switching cleaners and reducing urinary catheter use.

Hospital staff also began investigating why patients had an infection. "We started monitoring any time we did have an infection," Dr. Caldwell said. "We would do a root-cause analysis to see what happened, how did this happen, how could it have been avoided and so forth."

Dr. Caldwell said she wants patients to know the care team is knowledgeable about how to keep them from getting infections.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
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