For years, many health care providers viewed a certain level of health care-associated infections as an acceptable result of care, especially in intensive care units. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins has shown that multifaceted interventions designed to help ensure adherence to evidence-based infection control guidelines using checklists and principles of teamwork and communication—combined with participation by organizational leadership and unit-based care teams—can eliminate certain health care associated infections.
Johns Hopkins’ experience has demonstrated that the organizational belief that “zero is possible” changes the mental mindset and culture of the organization as to what is achievable. Previously, for example, a 5 percent to 10 percent improvement was the goal. Such a goal simply requires incremental improvement efforts that arguably do not require fundamental changes in culture or practice. Aiming for zero requires innovation and culture change, which must have full participation from organizational leaders.