Positive media coverage is a direct driver for improvement of patient safety. This is clear from a survey among healthcare professionals, quality staff, and hospital managements of the Danish Safer Hospital Programme.
83% of the respondents have experienced some form of positive media coverage of their efforts in the Danish Safer Hospital Programme, including in national and regional news media, professional journals, hospital and programme websites, and newsletters. The coverage typically address efforts benefiting patients, e.g. in the form of fewer infections, fewer pressure ulcers or fewer cardiac arrests.
The importance of strategic communications in a Danish improvement program
According to the study, media reports positively affect staff commitment. When the media – external or internal – tell success stories from the wards, staff members feel that their efforts are being recognised and appreciated. According to the respondents of the questionnaire, this creates a feeling of together- ness, increased joy of work, more professional pride, and motivation to work towards further improvements. Most of all, staff members prefer to have their efforts mentioned in professional journals, though reports in internal media and news- papers, radio, and TV also have positive effects.
The Danish Safer Hospital Programme also encouraged participants to celebrate their results. Just like media coverage, celebrations help strengthen motivation and commit- ment according to the communication study made by the Danish Safer Hospital Programme.
The study was conducted as a questionnaire sent to all participants in the fifth learning seminar in November 2012. The questionnaire was sent out in February 2013 to 239 persons. A total of 152 persons responded, a response rate of 65%.
Respondents were largely equally divided on the five hospitals of the programme: Thisted, Horsens, Kolding, Næstved, and Hillerød. More than half of the respondents had been involved in the Danish Safer Hospital Programme for longer than two years. 55% of the respondents were nurses, 15% physicians, and 20% hospital quality department staff.
Storyboard published at the IHI National Forum for Quality Improvement i Healthcare 2015