Infection Prevention Makes Good Business Sense. Here’s How to Prove It.

Author: Sean Gallimore, GM, SVP, PDI Healthcare

Type: Article

Author: Sean Gallimore currently serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager for PDI Healthcare, where he has overall strategic and financial responsibility for the healthcare division.

Infection Prevention Makes Good Business Sense. Here’s How to Prove It.

Recently, a group of infection preventionists and industry thought-leaders joined PDI Healthcare at our Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey headquarters for our first Business Boot Camp Event. During the event, we discussed the business side of operating in a healthcare facility and how to make the case for hospital executives to invest more in infection prevention (IP).

Below are some of the top takeaways from the day, which may help when developing a business case for a new product or program.

1. Recruit a supporter base:

How many times has the cost of equipment, consumables, and staff interfered with your ability to establish the best possible IP program? It can feel like an uphill battle, but you’re not in this alone. There are groups throughout your hospital and beyond that can help advocate for your program. These include:

  • Internal support: Among your colleagues, who else is impacted by the product or device you are looking to implement? What different perspectives do they bring to the table? Is there a broader cost or time savings you can present?
  • Vendor collaboration: Ask your partners for help. If you’re pitching a new product or program, the company you partner with can help you pull together the right data, resources, and ultimately, help craft your presentation. They should be happy to help.
  • Industry networking: Network with other infection preventionists who face similar challenges and have knowledge of different solutions. Use their success stories to help build your case.

2. Refine your presentation

At the PDI Business Boot Camp, many of us were accustomed to making decisions based on data and logic. With the right resources, we usually feel empowered to make our case.

When it comes to large hospital purchases, however, it’s not just about the data. Budgets are finite, so the C-suite often has to decide what they will not do in order to fully fund your intended program. That’s where compelling, effective presentation skills come in:

  • Start with where you want to end – don’t leave the key points and objectives up for interpretation.
  • Consider using different media, including images, videos, or interesting graphics to engage your audience rather than the standard Excel chart.
  • Craft a story that transcends functions and roles. You may have to convince several layers of management. Make it easy for your boss to translate your request a level higher.
  • Above all else, make it memorable.

3. Consider the executives’ perspective

In a similar vein, it’s important to develop a presentation that resonates with your ultimate decision-makers. Executive teams aren’t typically experts in infection prevention, so you’ll need to do some translating and filtering of information on their behalf. Here’s how:

Step one is to fully articulate the economic impact of HAIs. Walk them through the high-level economic benefits of reducing the overall incidence and how it can help maintain your hospital’s reputation and patient satisfaction.

Step two is to share metrics and value propositions that directly impact the executive team. While ease-of-use is nice to have, operational efficiency and time-savings add tangible value. Likewise, the performance of individual products is not their concern – but lowering the incidence of central line infections is. Focus on the bigger picture.

4. Make it contemporary

Fortunately, the IP field has evolved in recent years, presenting some timely new arguments for why it is a smart investment.  Put simply, HAIs are expensive and increased investment is long overdue.

Patient safety and satisfaction have been incentivized with initiatives such as the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, and Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. With Pay for Performance Programs and other trends, consumerism is an increasingly important driver of hospital strategy.

Note: If you need a refresh on the programs, check out this PDI continuing education course.

 5. Be persistent

All going well, the first four steps will deliver success. But if your executive team initially turns your request down, don’t get discouraged. Infection prevention is a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s no shortage of competition when it comes to new investments. Sometimes all you can do is plant the seeds for next year’s budget. Continue to fortify your team and presentation, and have faith that you’ll get there in the end.


Good luck – and reach out if PDI can help!

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