Root cause analysis to support infection control in healthcare premises

Published:December 29, 2014DOI:


      Infection control teams (ICTs) seek to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). They undertake surveillance and prevention, promote safety and quality of care, and evaluate and manage risk. Root cause analysis (RCA) can support this work but is not widely used by ICTs. This paper describes how ICTs can use RCA to enhance their day-to-day work. Many different tools and methods exist for RCA. Its primary aim is to identify the factors that have led to HCAI, but RCA can also be used for near-misses. A team effort and multidisciplinary work are usually required. Published accounts and personal experience in the field indicate that an ICT that correctly uses RCA implements more effective prevention measures, improves practice and collaborative working, enhances teamwork, and reduces the risk of HCAI. RCA should be promoted among ICTs because it adds value to their work and helps to develop a hospital culture that anticipates and pre-empts problems.


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