Ebola in Hospitals: It’s Better to be Safe than Sorry

How proper Compliance Communication can prevent the spread of Ebola

Four thousand. That is the number of lives the current Ebola epidemic has cost. A worrisome conclusion is that not only members of the public are amongst these victims, but also health care workers. In Dallas, two inattentive nurses got infected with the deadly disease. Even though this is a concerning fact, the spread of infections in healthcare facilities is nothing new. More so, it has been a concern for well over a century. But should it be?

Back in 1863, health care pioneer, Florence Nightingale, explored the accidental transmission of ‘contagion’ and how best to prevent it. Her findings covered everything from architectural design to ventilation, sanitation and the nature of the furniture inside. They were meant to maximize chances for recovery and minimized the odds for spread. Compliance was born.

To prevent contagion in health care facilities today’s practices are far more intensive. They include strict adherence to hand hygiene, access to and knowledge of personal protective equipment, proper environmental cleaning, and specific protocols for specialized techniques, such as drawing blood, or putting on those ‘space suits’. For example for pathogens that can spread environmentally from the body, such as the rotavirus, contact precautions are needed so no part of a healthcare worker’s body will come into contact with any bodily fluids.

Even though these precautions are drilled during countless hours of education, contagion still occurs. Why? The most common problems with preventing or stopping the spread of infection are due to a slip in compliance, in which the procedures are not followed to the letter. There are many reasons for this, including busy schedules, overwork, lack of access to proper supplies, and a need for recurrent training.

Compliance Communication in Hospitals to the rescue

This is exactly where compliance comes into play. Compliance communication in hospitals is about communicating the rules, regulations and legislation that apply to an employee’s industry or role. In the case of health care workers it is essential for them to view these rules on a regular basis. Repetition is key. This keeps them on their toes.

With the use of new media forms you can deliver bite size chunks of information in attractive formats right to staff members without cluttering their email inboxes. For example a message about protective measures to prevent or minimize Ebola infection will be internally shared on multiple visual formats such as interactive screensavers, pop up messages and digital signage screens. The latter can be done by placing displays where employees will see them – hallways, elevators, break rooms, cafeterias, lobbies, nurses’ stations or even laboratories.

The Strenght of Repetition

By looking at different devices, people will constantly be reminded of the safety measures that need to be taken. There is almost no room for error as they know exactly what to do, when it needs to be done. According to Christine Lotze, a partner at Philosophy IB, proof has shown that employees who are reminded of important information on a regular basis, are far more likely to remember what to do and more importantly, not to do, when the situation arises.

Also it is possible to constantly inform team members about important updates regarding the safety procedures.

Curious how Compliance Communication can be improved within your organization? Contact one of our experts.


About the author

Luc Bormans

Luc Bormans, Netpresenter's head of Marketing, is an expert in the field of Marketing Communications. In his spare time Luc likes to cruise around in his Mini Cooper.