, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 544-548
Date: 28 Sep 2013

Positive Deviance: A New Tool for Infection Prevention and Patient Safety

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Positive deviance (PD) may have an important role in infection prevention and patient safety in the hospital. There are many descriptions of successful stories of PD in different sectors from public health to education to business. PD has been applied in the healthcare setting to improve hand hygiene compliance, reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and reduce bloodstream infections in an outpatient hemodialysis center. PD promotes dialogue among leaders, managers and healthcare workers, which is a key factor in establishing a safety culture. It also enables cultural changes aimed at empowering frontline workers (the positive deviants) to innovate and improve compliance with infection prevention measures. The structure and the process of PD, and its ability to offer a space for experience discussions, changing ideas and making plans that emerge from team participation will also be discussed.