CMS Innovation Advisors Aim to Improve Quality of Care

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , January 6, 2012

Reducing infections
Tina Schwien says her project will build on her work with quality improvement organizations. As she has looked at healthcare delivery she has become interested in how patients and their families, which she describes as "untapped resources" can be engaged to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections. With a hospital partner, she will have to explore whether teaching families about the symptoms of infection will help identify potential problems more quickly.

Her project will focus on three common HAIs—surgical site, clostridium difficile, and catheter infections. The key she says will be to find "ways on a daily basis where the patient and family will be engaged in the process of reducing HAIs. That could be something as simple as remembering to wash their hands when they walk into the patient's room."

She hopes to identify steps to reduce infections that can be adapted and tailored to different hospitals. "I want this to become part of the hospital culture."

Schwien says participating in the innovation advisor's program is a great opportunity. "There is energy around the idea of innovation that this program captures. The time is right for sharing best practices."

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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