Using Social Media to Motivate Infection Preventionists

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The Infection Prevention Society (IPS) is a charity that supports members to ensure no person is harmed by a preventable infection. In 2009, IPS began a strategy planning and evaluation exercise that has acted as the catalyst for transformation, achieved through the use of innovative change techniques and a social media campaign. Storr et al. (2013) sought to establish a new strategy and social media campaign.

Qualitative and quantitative approaches were used; a needs assessment of members, a creative thinking workshop using three novel techniques drafted a vision, mission, strategic aims and objectives, feedback exercises followed at IPS' annual conferences. This included a Strategy Decision Tree and Strategy Wall to gather free text that was analyzed. In parallel, a baseline survey of members’ use of social media was issued and a follow-up process for twitter analysis established.

In 2011, IPS issued strategic objectives: a) to lead, shape and inform the infection prevention agenda; b) to generate and promote the evidence base for infection prevention, and c) to be the organization of choice to sustain improvement.

The member survey found that equal proportions of members (39%) thought that use of Twitter would enhance and not enhance IPS. Implementation and on-going evaluation exercises were designed from this intelligence. In 2011, 1% of members stated that Twitter would serve a purpose. In 2013, 37% of IPS members were signed up to Twitter. Within one month the impact of the @IPS_infection Twitter account increased two-and-a-half fold, (reach - 8,047 to 27,146 and impressions - 17,502 to 44,529 respectively).

Reference: J Storr1, H Loveday, L Wharton, D Flaxman, D Wright, E Curran, M Tannahil, G Thirkell, N Wiggleworth, P Cattini, J Wilson and C Kilpatrick. Oral presentation O025 at the 2nd International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC 2013) : Organizational transformation – the application of novel change techniques & social media understanding to motivate infection preventionists. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2013, 2(Suppl 1):O25 doi:10.1186/2047-2994-2-S1-O25.

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