The use of data and information on healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) is essential at every stage of the improvement process. Once converted into an appropriate form, information can be used to:
- Diagnose where the problems are
- Support a business case for an improvement programme
- Change behaviour by presenting a case for change
- Show where progress is being made
- Evaluate and compare performance (league tables, benchmarking)
It is important that a cultural shift takes place in which we no longer simply view data as numbers and tables to simply provide assurance, but as intelligence with which we can arm ourselves to challenge the status quo in order to continuously improve services for patients.
Organisations need to ensure that data is used in the most appropriate ways so it becomes a valuable source of evidence and intelligence in driving improvement and providing assurance to senior management and the board.
If aiming to use data effectively, there should be an emphasis on:
- Timely and appropriate data collection, and
- Analysis to turn it into quality information and
- Effective presentation and
- Comprehensive dissemination to drive improvement.
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