This episode is part of our in-depth coverage of the Healthcare Infection Transmission Systems (HITS) Consortium 2019 conference in Buffalo, NY that took place August 6-8th. 

Usually, we know what we need to do. But doing it is hard and we struggle. This is true for individuals. It’s true for organizations. And it’s true in healthcare, especially when it comes to behavioral side of infection prevention.

Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH addressed these issues in the opening keynote for the HITS 2019 conference in Buffalo, NY. We caught up with him at the event to discuss:

  • What can we learn from the experiences of Ignaz Semmelweis?
  • How to address the adaptive/behavioral component of infection prevention
  • Addressing the culture and sub-culture so that we do the right thing every single time
  • The power of being present with your patients and how to use rituals to get you there
  • Understanding the significance of your interactions with the patient
  • Creating a culture of excellence that polices itself.

There’s a lot of wisdom in this short interview. Enjoy!


This episode is sponsored by the Healthcare Infection Transmission System (HITS) Consortium. For the second year in a row, The #HCBiz Show had the honor and privilege of being a media partner for the annual HITS Conference. Last year we were in Nashville – check out the episodes we recorded there. This year, we attended HITS 2019 in Buffalo, NY.

Thank you to Christine Greene, Kelly Reynolds, Savanah Hatt, John LaRochelle, and Michael Diamond, along with the entire HITS Consortium for the work you’re doing to protect our families and our communities. The battle against healthcare-associated infections can only be won through collaboration, and from what I’ve seen in working with you all for the past few years, HITS is bringing the best ideas and brightest minds together to do just that.

About Healthcare Infections Transmission System (HITS) Consortium

The Healthcare Infection Transmission System (HITS) Consortium is a not-for-profit organization serving the field of infection control and prevention. HITS takes a holistic perspective to targeting healthcare-associated infections by including multiple disciplines in the conversation, including infection prevention, environmental services, construction and renovation, facilities management and engineering along with research scientists and industry experts. HITS focuses on the major avenues for pathogen transmission in hospitals:  hands, surfaces, water and air.  HITS provides the necessary, cross-disciplinary platform to share knowledge and engage in research regarding the prevention of healthcare-associated infections and promotion of overall hospital health.

The Annual HITS Conference

The Healthcare Infections Transmission System (HITS) Consortium looks to promote public health by reducing healthcare-associated infections through the integration of best infection prevention practices. HITS will focus on the major pathogen transmission systems in the healthcare setting specifically; surfaces, person to person, water and air. Join us for this one-of-a-kind, multimodal event where researchers and experts from across disciplines will work toward identifying research gaps and applying data-driven methods in the field. Meet, greet and share ideas with the individuals and organizations who are growing and sustaining the industry, as we explore creative and innovative solutions to this global problem.

How is HITS different?

Our conference theme is Catalyst for Change. Fittingly, HITS will take a holistic perspective to targeting healthcare-associated infections. The conference looks to focus on “hospital health.” By including multiple disciplines in the conversation, HITS looks to remove silos and encourage a systems approach, aligning with infection prevention.

@HITSConsortium on Twitter

HITS Consortium on LinkedIn


About Dr. Sanjay Saint

Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, is the Chief of Medicine at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the George Dock Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.

His research focuses on patient safety, implementation science, and medical decision-making. He has authored approximately 350 peer-reviewed papers with over 110 appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, The Lancet, or the Annals of Internal Medicine. He serves on the editorial board of 7 peer-reviewed journals including the Annals of Internal Medicine, is a Special Correspondent to the New England Journal of Medicine, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP).

He has written for The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, and gave a 2016 TED talk on culture change in healthcare that has over 1 million views.  He has co-authored two books published by Oxford University Press:  “Preventing Hospital Infections: Real-World Problems, Realistic Solutions” and “Teaching Inpatient Medicine: What Every Physician Needs to Know.” In 2017 he was awarded the HSR&D Health System Impact Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Distinguished Mentor Award from the University of Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research.  In 2016 he received the Mark Wolcott Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs as the National VA Physician of the Year and was elected as an international honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London).

He received his Medical Doctorate from UCLA, completed a medical residency and chief residency at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), and obtained a Masters in Public Health (as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar) from the University of Washington in Seattle. He has been a visiting professor at over 100 universities and hospitals in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has active research studies underway with investigators in Switzerland, Italy, Japan, and Thailand.


Sanjay Saint’s New Book:

Thirty Rules for Healthcare Leaders by Sanjay Saint and Vineet Chopra:

From the book’s description:

Thirty Rules for Healthcare Leaders is the essential guide for everyone in healthcare, from those just starting their careers to those who are established leaders. The authors have been in leadership roles within healthcare systems for several years, and have carefully studied healthcare leadership during site visits to hospitals around the world. The book presents practical and timely advice packaged in pithy “pearls” that can be used by time-pressured professionals. Original artwork makes each rule memorable. Meant to be read in one sitting, or one at a time, Thirty Rules for Healthcare Leaders speaks to a broad range of healthcare professionals, regardless of title or experience. If you work in healthcare, this is your new must-read book.


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