No doubt a good move but my friend Jim Tobalski, head of marketing and his team at Novant Health System has been way ahead of the game. Novant wanted to institute a systemwide hand hygiene program and make germ prevention and infection reduction part of the systemÛªs culture. Nationally, it’s estimated that hospital staffs comply with proper hand hygiene techniques only 20 percent of the time. Novant’s goal was to reach 90 percent, and eventually achieve 100 percent compliance. Marketing ran with it–and rarely does marketing gain an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. It initiated a unique and edgy campaign to create a buzz inside the organization and permanently change the quality and safety culture. This successful, award-winning campaign caught the attention of local and national media, in addition to other unintended audiences–such as community clergy who used the campaignÛªs inspirational messages in Sunday sermons. More importantly, the campaign helped shift employee opinion, increase hand hygiene compliance and save lives.
Nursing and assisted living facilities would be wise to follow suit. Of course it is the right thing to do but more than that people will take notice that you are doing it. Make the experience better and people will talk about it. No better marketing exists. Consumers should add infection rates to their list of criteria when evaluating a facility. Ask for their statistics. Or have a nurse accompany you when you are looking at facilities and have he or she ask the tough questions.