2. Communication and Collaboration
Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel: Infrastructure and Routine Practices for Occupational Infection Prevention and Control Services (2019)
- CMS = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- HCO = Healthcare Organization
- HCP = Healthcare Personnel
- IPC = Infection Prevention and Control
- OHS = Occupational Health Services
- OSHA = Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- PPE = Personal Protective Equipment
- SESIP = Sharps with Engineered Sharps Injury Protection
- TB = Tuberculosis
Effective internal communication and collaboration between OHS, other HCO departments, and HCP can enhance the safety of HCP and their patients.[1,2] OHS staff maintain effective communication pathways with a variety of departments, including:
- IPC services
- Clinical services
- Engineering and facility management services
- Environmental services
- HCO leaders and managers
- HCP representatives
- Human resources
- Information technology services
- Laboratory services
- Legal departments (e.g., risk management)
- Procurement and central supply services
- Quality assurance and accreditation committees
- Safety committees
- Volunteer departments
- Workers’ compensation
Explicit communication and collaboration between OHS and other HCO departments, particularly IPC services, can improve HCP safety and the delivery of occupational IPC services. Multidisciplinary committees can assemble diverse expertise to address cross-cutting issues such as assessing and selecting Sharps with Engineered Sharps Injury Protection (SESIP); developing tools to document HCP declination of immunization and to increase immunization rates; and improving the capture and reporting of HCP immunization data (see section 6. Immunization Programs).
Communication and collaboration among OHS and supervisors, senior management, human resources, IPC services, legal departments, and HCP are necessary to decrease the likelihood of HCP reporting to work when ill and to encourage adherence to recommended work restrictions, when indicated. Box 2. Examples of Possible Areas of Collaboration lists areas related to occupational IPC in which communication and collaboration can be important.
Barriers to effective communication and collaboration can include:
- dispersed staff and worksite locations (e.g., multi-hospital or healthcare setting network, contracted and off-site occupational health services), and
- different requirements for staff not directly employed by a facility, such as credentialed private practice physicians and contractors.
Additional areas for communication and collaboration are discussed in section 1. Leadership and Management.
See section 1. Leadership and Management for additional related recommendations.
For healthcare organization leaders and administrators
Establish organizational goals, policies and procedures, infrastructure, and interventions that foster communication and collaboration about occupational infection prevention and control.
For occupational health services leaders and staff
Engage senior leaders, administrators, leaders of other programs that share activities related to occupational infection prevention and control, and healthcare personnel to foster collaborative decision-making.
Participate in the development of policies, procedures, and interventions that affect occupational infection prevention and control.
- Russi M, Buchta WG, Swift M, et al. Guidance for Occupational Health Services in Medical Centers. J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Nov;51(11):1e-18e.
- Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs: Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors, and Staffing Agenciesexternal icon. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Accessed August 20, 2019.
- Hooper J, Charney W.Creation of a safety culture: reducing workplace injuries in a rural hospital setting. AAOHN J. 2005 Sep;53(9):394-8.
- Bertin M, Scarpelli M, Proctor AW, et al. Novel use of the intranet to document health care personnel participation in a mandatory influenza vaccination reporting program. Am J Infect Control. 2007 Feb;35(1):33-7.
- Melia M, O’Neill S, Calderon S, et al. Development of a flexible, computerized database to prioritize, record, and report influenza vaccination rates for healthcare personnel. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2009 Apr;30(4):361-9.
Box 2. Examples of Possible Areas of Collaboration for Occupational Infection Prevention and Control Services
|Possible Areas of Collaboration and Roles for Occupational Health Services||Possible Internal Collaborators|
|Developing and disseminating policies and procedures about occupational IPC related to:
|Participating in risk assessment and reduction activities for occupational IPC:
|Assisting in accreditation and regulatory compliance activities pertaining to occupational IPC:
|Supporting HCP occupational IPC education and training
|Contributing to HCP immunization programs:
|Developing policies and procedures for HCP exposures and illness management:
|Contributing to product evaluation related to occupational IPC:
|Implementing methods for managing HCP health records:
|Collaborating in managing outbreaks involving HCP:
|Participating in planning for emergencies involving infectious diseases: