Engaging Healthcare Facility Staff is Key in Outbreak Investigations


Arjun Srinivasan, MD, stresses the importance of making outbreak investigations a team effort.

Arjun Srinivasan, MD, Associate Director, Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stresses the importance of making outbreak investigations a team effort.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Managing an outbreak in a healthcare facility usually falls to the healthcare epidemiologist and the infection preventionist—those are the folks who are trained and skilled in investigating outbreaks. The key though, is to make sure that you’ve got your facility engaged, and you have the support that you need.

I always tell people that the very first thing that you need to do when you begin an investigation is talk to the leadership of your facility; let them know that there is an issue that you’re investigating because you will need their support. You need the support of your facility leadership, because they can make the resources available to you that you might need to do the investigation.

Then, you really need the clinical staff in whatever area the outbreak is occurring in to be part of the effort; they are going to be fundamentally important to discovering the cause of the outbreak and to getting control of the outbreak. So, it’s really important to meet with them, take them through the steps of [what you] are going to do, educate them about how you’re going to approach the outbreak, and get their ideas; a lot of times, they have great ideas as to what might be causing the outbreak.

It’s really important to recognize these outbreak investigations as a true team sport, and to engage all of the relevant parties.”

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