For example, when addressing the quality department in your facility, you need to understand their strengths, which consist of “a lot of access to data, or understanding how to get access to data, they also have a lot of ability to influence other groups across the hospital and leadership. They have a lot of influence on what gets put on score cards and the metrics that get put in front of leadership and the interpretation of those metrics as well.”
Next, Dr. Moehring suggests focusing on using language that appeals to them. She said, “using the language around metrics, outcomes, processes, score cards, run charts, all of those types of language really will help and gets them excited, because that’s what they’re trained to do: look at data, interpret that, and show change.”
One of the biggest strengths when it comes to antimicrobial stewardship personnel lies in their clinical knowledge and dedication to patient care. “I think that in many times these individuals are strong educators, they have a good relationship with frontline clinicians, [and] so if you could somehow use that relationship and use them as a proxy for infection prevention, getting infection prevention’s messages through to frontline clinicians, I think that can also be a good way to use their influence as a partner,” she added. In addition, antimicrobial stewardship personnel tend to be more adaptive and flexible, since most antimicrobial stewardship programs are in their infancy. What language should you use when speaking to a steward? According to Dr. Moehring, “Key words when you’re appealing to a steward would be trying to support clinical decisions for direct patient care, which is what they really, really care about—managing infections and improving patient care. Certainly, if you can tie what you’re doing to optimizing antibiotic use, that would get their attention and anything that really supports the pharmacy I think goes a long way when you’re messaging for stewardship.”
The next step in developing strategies to build internal capacity is to be familiar with and utilize existing resources. “This actually takes some work because it’s constantly changing. I think in general we do an annual assessment to see how our program’s doing, but there may be a lot that’s changing in the interim between those assessments as well,” Dr. Moehring said.