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Ways to create commitment and understanding are far more convincing than accusations.

Portrait of Prof. Andreas Voss
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“I believe communication (topic of the 2nd CEE Semmelweis Conference in March 2017) is one of the key-factors factors in fighting HAI”, says Prof. Andreas Voss. With the consultant microbiologist at the Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital and professor of infection control at the Radboud university medical center spoke Carola Timmel 

Prof. Voss, hearing your name I do immediately think of the great German actor Gert Voss. Your activity field is not the theatre- but the hospital stage, where hygiene in all its facets is an important item. Also our conference in March 2017 is a kind of stage since the goal lies in making important aspects of communication (key for better infection surveillance and control) a subject of discussion. What significance has communication in the fight against HAI?

I believe communication is one of the key-factors factors in fighting HAI. Some people say that, this was actually one of the weaker points of Semmelweis, who accused his colleagues who didn’t use his hand rub of being murders. While in part correct, we all know that ways to create commitment and understanding are far more convincing than accusations.

Your name is also linked with the term “performance review”, which means the auditing/recording of processes in hospital. How important is communication in the performance review process?

Actually, it is the other way around.  How important is a performance review for the communication? Nothing is more convincing than hard data and facts and the effect of feedback may be increased by competitive elements, such as comparing the performance of different department.

What effect can have good expert conferences such as ICPIC or the Semmelweis Conference, and what are your expectations of the Semmelweis Conference?

Conferences should be a combination of state-of-the-art talks and talks and workshops on best practices. Most importantly, they should leave enough time and opportunity to meet the experts and other participants. Some say that the later is one of the most important function of conferences, which is why e.g. ICPIC is offering plenty opportunities to make it possible. Consequently I am looking forward to meet all friends and make new ones during the Semmelweis Conference.

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