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Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) remain a major challenge. Various strategies have been tried to prevent or control HAIs. Positive deviance, a strategy that has been used in the last decade, is based on the observation that a few at-risk individuals follow uncommon, useful practices and that, consequently, they experience better outcomes than their peers who share similar risks. We performed a systematic literature review to measure the impact of positive deviance in controlling HAIs.
A systematic search strategy was used to search PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and Embase through May 2020 for studies evaluating positive deviance as a single intervention or as part of an initiative to prevent or control healthcare-associated infections. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Downs and Black score.
Of 542 articles potentially eligible for review, 14 articles were included for further analysis. All studies were observational, quasi-experimental (before-and-after intervention) studies. Hand hygiene was the outcome in 8 studies (57%), and an improvement was observed in association with implementation of positive deviance as a single intervention in all of them. Overall HAI rates were measured in 5 studies (36%), and positive deviance was associated with an observed reduction in 4 (80%) of them. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections were evaluated in 5 studies (36%), and positive deviance containing bundles were successful in all of them.
Positive deviance may be an effective strategy to improve hand hygiene and control HAIs. Further studies are needed to confirm this effect.
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