Communication Interventions Improve Adherence to Infection Control Measures

Ineffective communication of infection control requirements during transitions of care is a potential cause of non-compliance with infection control precautions by healthcare personnel. In this study, Ong, et al. (2013) implemented interventions to enhance communication during inpatient transfers between wards and radiology, in the attempt to improve adherence to precautions during transfers.
Two interventions were implemented, comprising a pre-transfer checklist used by radiology porters to confirm a patient's infectious status, and a colored cue to highlight written infectious status information in the transfer form. The effectiveness of the interventions in promoting adherence to standard precautions by radiology porters when transporting infectious patients was evaluated using a randomized crossover trial at a teaching hospital in Australia.
Three hundred transfers were observed over a period of four months. Compliance with infection control precautions in the intervention groups was significantly improved relative to the control group (p < 0.01). Adherence rate in the control group was 38 percent. Applying the colored cue resulted in a compliance rate of 73 percent. The pre-transfer checklist intervention achieved a comparable compliance rate of 71 percent. When both interventions were applied, a compliance rate of 74 percent was attained. Acceptability of the colored cue was high, but adherence to the checklist was low (40 percent).
The researchers conclude that simple measures to enhance communication through the provision of a checklist and the use a colored cue brought about significant improvement in compliance with infection control precautions by transport personnel during inpatient transfers. They say their study underscores the importance of effective communication in ensuring compliance with infection control precautions during transitions of care. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: Ong MS, Magrabi F, et al. Communication interventions to improve adherence to infection control precautions: a randomized crossover trial. BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:72 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-72.