Communication strategies in acute health care: evaluation within the context of infection prevention and control.
Edwards R., Sevdalis N., Vincent C., Holmes A.
BACKGROUND: Communication in healthcare settings has recently received significant attention in the literature. However, there continues to be a large gap in current understanding of the effectiveness of different communication channels used in acute healthcare settings, particularly in the context of infection prevention and control (IPC). AIM: To explore and evaluate the main communication channels used within hospitals to communicate with healthcare workers (HCWs) and to propose practical recommendations. METHODS: Critical review of the main communication channels used within acute health care to communicate information to HCWs, and analysis of their impact on practice. FINDINGS: The analysis covers verbal communications, standardization via guidelines, education and training, electronic communications and marketing strategies. Traditional communication channels have not been successful in changing and sustaining best practice in IPC, but newer approaches (electronic messages and marketing) also have pitfalls. CONCLUSION: A few simple recommendations are made in relation to the development, implementation and evaluation of communications to HCWs; top-down vs bottom-up communications; and the involvement of HCWs, particularly ward personnel.