Identifying management practices for promoting infection prevention: Perspectives on strategic communication

Am J Infect Control. 2022 Jun;50(6):593-597. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.11.025. Epub 2021 Dec 7.


Background: Engaging leaders to share information about infections and infection prevention across their organizations is known to be important in initiatives designed to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Yet the topics and communication strategies used by leaders that focus on HAI prevention are not well understood. This study aimed to identify and describe practices around information sharing used to support HAI prevention.

Methods: We visited 18 U.S. hospitals between 2017 and 2019 and interviewed 188 administrative and clinical leaders to ask about management practices they used to facilitate HAI prevention. Interview transcripts were analyzed to characterize practices involving strategic communications.

Results: Sharing information to support infection prevention involved strategic communications around two main topics: (1) facilitators of success and best practices, and (2) barriers to success and lessons learned. In addition, the practice of storytelling reportedly allowed leaders to highlight impact and elicit emotion, provide education, and acknowledge success in infection prevention by providing examples of real events.

Conclusions: Our findings provide insight about how strategic communication of information around HAIs and HAI prevention can be used to support improvement. Organizations and leaders should consider the different opportunities to incorporate the practice of strategic communication, including using storytelling, to advance their infection prevention efforts.

Keywords: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs); Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs); Hospitals; Leadership.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections* / prevention & control
  • Communication
  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Hospitals
  • Humans