Setting SMART goals to measure efficacy

Be realistic in charting program course

It is wise to set SMART goals in undertaking projects to show the efficacy and cost-savings of your infection control department, advises Jerold Crawford, RN, CIC, infection control manager at University Community Hospital in Tampa, FL.

According to Crawford, the SMART acronym stands for:


The goal needs to cover one topic or aspect of a project. It should be narrow in focus, not overbroad or nebulous. For example, a reduction in bloodstream infections (BSI) rather than a reduction in infections overall.


The goal needs to be measurable, as in a 30% reduction in BSIs rather than ’fewer” BSIs.


Goals need to spell out the action necessary. For example, the 30% reduction in BSIs includes educating the staff on sterile technique, enforcing the use of maximum barrier precautions, and getting feedback to staff on infection rates for their respective units.


Is the goal of a 30% BSI reduction achievable and realistic? Set goals that can be achieved. Once you meet your goal, you can always set further reductions as your next goal. Don’t set goals so high that there is no hope of making them.

Time Limit.

Over what period of time do you give yourself to meet this goal? By next week or next year? Again, make it realistic.