Clean up your act, Botsford Hospital’s video sings

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News
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Botsford Hospital really wants you to wash your hands when you visit the hospital. So much so, that officials at the Farmington Hills facility have made a new hygiene video that it hopes will have you singing, dancing and lathering along.

An adaption of the Beach Boys’ classic “Barbara Ann,” the video has more than 100 employees — from CEO Paul LaCasse to Botsford’s janitors and ambulance drivers — telling folks to “Wa-wa-wa, wa-wash your hands.” Every department is represented, even the therapy dogs.

It’s a lighthearted way to get serious about germs when hospitals are under pressure from the federal Affordable Care Act to reduce rates of hospital-acquired illnesses or infections.

Scores of smiling employees — and a posse of toddlers from Botsford’s day care center — bounce, wiggle and shimmy to a chorus of “Gotta soak ’em, gotta rub ’em, disinfect ’em while ya scrub ’em.” The video was produced by Rob Bliss, whose upbeat marketing video for the city of Grand Rapids — featuring a flash crowd of thousands of dancing residents — grabbed national attention.

Vascular surgeon Dr. Eugene Laveronie solicited lyrics from his crew of Michigan State University osteopathic medicine residents, said Lynn Anderson, Botsford’s director of marketing and public relations. In the end, most of the words were written by surgical nurse Heidi Diehm.

“There’s everybody from the head of the hospital to security people, maintenance people, nurses, doctors and administrative staff,” Anderson said. “... There were six dogs and six trainers, maybe more than that.”

Starting next year, hospitals will essentially start competing for the lowest rate of hospital-acquired conditions. The 25 percent of hospitals with the most infections will be penalized 1 percent on their Medicare senior health care reimbursement rates. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates penalties will average more than $200,000 per hospital.

Susan Fletcher-Gutowski, infection prevention coordinator for Botsford, said hospitals have always tried to keep down infection rates, but health care overhaul brings germ control into sharper focus.

“The focus of the Affordable Care Act is on prevention,” Fletcher-Gutowski said. “Now the push is to really look at how we do things, and how to do them better.”

She said hospitals use lots of methods to keep germs at bay, “but hand hygiene is the single most important way to prevent the spread of infection.”

“The video is just part of a bigger picture,” she said. “...We all have to do our part to reduce infection rates and hand washing is one way to do that.”

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