Many of our customers spend a lot of their resources, time and energy toward risk minimization, compliance and safety. Whether their function is to manage nursing teams, environmental services or materials management, they rely on research, best practices and third-party counsel to help them navigate all potential risk factors throughout a healthcare network. The insights they gather through research and outside experts help them make complicated decisions around diverse processes and system-wide standards.
While this environment of information-based decision-making typically leads to successful hospital management, the introduction of “misinformation” sometimes creates unforeseen risk. Misinformation or insights from seemingly reliable surveys or studies might lead to unnecessary and expensive action, or a change in protocol that veers away from best practices. Bad decisions can be made and new risks created.
Recently a healthcare facility in the south was faced with a survey surrounding reusable sharp containers and infection control – a clinical risk that it takes very seriously. Stacy Martin, a registered nurse and infection prevention manager, recently urged Becker’s Hospital Review to drive awareness to issues she found with the survey through this story .
The survey in question indicated that the use of reusable sharps containers may be associated with increased C.difficile rates. This assumption naturally could set off alarms for any infection prevention manager. Upon further review, Martin found the survey made assumption without rigorous research and it lacked clarity, diverse sources and substantive metrics.
In today’s environment of pervasive risk, healthcare decision makers have to continue to “research the research.” In this case, had Moffitt not taken the respondents, questions, variables, metrics and other factors into consideration before making a decision, she could have used non-substantiated insights that resulted in costly changes to procedures, services and training. Most facilities today cannot afford to make these mistakes from a financial or safety perceptive. In the Information Age, it is “misinformation” that poses the biggest threat to our reputations and purpose.