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Training and empowerment are the keys to providing quality care

August 11, 2017
Infection Control
From the August 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


When an administrator decides to demonstrate that crew input is important and actually incorporates their suggestions, attitudes change. After months of demonstrating change created by the crew, things changed even faster. The sentiment was now obvious. The crew thought the captain cared more about performance and about them than about his next promotion. Aboard ship you have sailors from every type of background and education, not too different than everyone working in a hospital. Making sure everyone feels part of the team and has a voice is the key to pushing success to excellence. Abrashoff started duplicate training to ensure at least two people always knew each job task and received continual training. Part of being a team is filling in when needed with no loss of skill set.

The Cleveland Clinic, like other prominent health care systems, embraces change to optimize patient outcome. The Cleveland Clinic’s Toby Cosgrove, M.D. understands it is not about him. It’s about empowering an entire team to achieve superior outcomes. This is evident even when boarding any of the numerous shuttles between buildings on the main Cleveland campus. Shuttle drivers are compassionate, educated on each building and go out of their way to reduce stress. The attitude quickly becomes contagious as patients and family members familiar with the campus are eager to help others get to their destination. Customer focused training does not pick and choose at the Cleveland Clinic. Everyone is trained and everyone knows the importance of empathy.

Cosgrove has created a culture that allows everyone to explore new ideas with the patient as the focus. The team at ICU had a new idea for reducing health care associated infections (HAIs) caused by contractors and maintenance technicians that was overlooked at most hospitals. Spending time educating all the outside vendors that perform work in hospitals was an impossible task to corral. Pushing the education to the cloud and making it available from any smart device 24/7 with testing to verify learning just made sense. While other health care systems struggled with trying something new, Ronald Lawson, vice president of construction services, jumped at the alternative training delivery that benefited patient outcomes and aided in reducing HAIs.

“It’s all about preventing mistakes that injure a patient,” according to Lawson.

Unlike other hospitals that recognized the value, but were fearful of pulling the trigger on making a decision, Lawson quickly evaluated the program with peers and got started.

Standardized training is necessary to achieve better outcomes. Combining education and empowering employees focused on a mission is when excellence happens.

About the author: Thom Wellington is the CEO and a stockholder in Infection Control University.
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