Exploring Positive Deviance

Erika Bailey spoke about the use of Positive Deviance as an organizational strategy in the University Health Network (UHN) for the control of MRSA and other superbugs. See her slides from the Nov 10 DwD (and her PD Handout pdf).

From an interview with DR. Michael Gardam, UHN:

One of the things we do here is a program called TRIZ, where we ask people to design a system where you would spread infections to every single person in the hospital. How would you design that? And within about two minutes health care workers will yell out, “Don’t clean your hands,” “Don’t clean the room.” They all know exactly how these things are spread. But then when you talk to them about washing their hands, the answer is “Sometimes.”And from HIROC health news: Positive deviance refers to encouraging a hospital’s front-line staff members to develop methods for controlling superbugs in healthcare settings.

More from www.positivedeviance.org:

Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community there are certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing similar or worse challenges.

The Positive Deviance approach is an asset-based, problem-solving, and community-driven approach that enables the community to discover these successful behaviors and strategies and develop a plan of action to promote their adoption by all concerned.