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Former Kaiser Infection Preventionist, Enid Eck, Partners with Mazzetti

6/08/17
Enid-Eck

Infection Preventionist Enid K. Eck, RN, BA, MPH

Today, so many questions are at the nexus of health delivery, technology, and engineered systems. So, to provide maximum value to our clients, we needed to bring the expertise of clinical and facility operations stars to augment the services of our technology and engineering systems people.

One of the most direct correlations between engineered systems and clinical operations is in the area of Infection Prevention (IP). Through the years, we have been privileged to work with many IP’s around the country. Fortunately for us, one IP, Enid Eck, recently retired from Kaiser Permanente. She has agreed to join us, helping our design teams work with clients to deliver risk-based designs where it can help them the most.

“We worked with Enid when she sat on the Peer Review committee for our Displacement Ventilation Research,” said Walt Vernon, CEO. “Enid was remarkable in her understanding of the impact of the built environment on patient and staff safety. When I represented ASHE to help create the Legionella risk-based approach in ASHRAE Standard 188, Enid was an invaluable resource. To have her now, working with us on our projects is a wonderful gift.”

We caught up with Enid to share some of her past, present, and future story, including how she will provide more value for our clients and partners. 

How did get into your specific line of work?

When I was young, before the polio vaccine was developed, my family friends’ son developed polio and eventually died. This impacted me. As a young child, I spent a summer trying to “invent” a polio vaccine. Apparently, Jonas Salk beat me to it. I also had an aunt, who was a nurse, I admired. These experiences shaped what would become my fixation on the PREVENTATIVE side of healthcare. I believe, once some is sick, we’ve lost part of the battle.

The HIV epidemic sprung into full force about the same time I was finishing my Masters in Public Health. I moved to the West Coast and helped set up some of the first HIV clinics for Kaiser Permanente.

Key questions I always ask myself: How do we prevent illness or injury? How do we keep healthcare workers safe? Other patients safe?

PREVENTION is key. 

How did you discover Mazzetti?

I was first introduced to Mazzetti, really through my work with Kaiser. (Mazzetti and Kaiser have had a long-standing relationship.) I believe it was my work, specifically, with the National Facilities Services at Kaiser, that connected me with Walt, Mazzetti CEO. We have connected a number of times, and he eventually asked for assistance on work he’s doing with ASHRAE.

Walt saw a natural fit for me to better inform Mazzetti staff and clients on regulatory/compliance items, to ultimately inform better decision-making.

Describe briefly your previous position at Kaiser?

I was first introduced to Kaiser through my Masters program, studying Kaiser’s patient integrated delivery system, and I was enamored. I knew I wanted to spend my career at Kaiser, and I did. Over the past 30 years, I have had extensive experience working with the National Facilities Services, design and construction departments at Kaiser Permanente.  I have also been very involved in hospital preparation and compliance with state and local health departments and the CMS Regulatory requirements as well as Joint Commission Accreditation Standards.

Describe what you will be doing at Mazzetti?

My role at Mazzetti will be a by-project nature. I will provide consultation per a specific project and project needs. E.g. When certain changes to design can improve cost efficiencies, my role will be mitigating the concern of long-term impact with regulatory compliance. I look forward to participating “as needed” to help inform designs and operations of building and overall cost effectiveness.

What are you most excited about it, working for Mazzetti?

After recently retiring from Kaiser, I knew I wanted to find something meaningful, something useful. Much of my role at Kaiser was consultative–one of my favorite aspects! Mazzetti was a natural fit.

What do you feel will be your greatest value to Mazzetti clients & partners?

I intend to enhance and support Mazzetti clients by collaborating with design staff to better incorporate clinical and operational expertise into the various design recommendations, implementation plans, and consultation services that Mazzetti currently provides. And, given my connections from my 30 years with Kaiser, I feel my network provides further value.

Project Highlights (during your Kaiser tenure):

  • Most challenging – Lessons learned?

We experienced an issue, veering from the design template, which led to the development of some operational challenges. The “lesson learned” underscored the need for significant vigilance at the design phase. Any potential changes in the standardized design template must be highly scrutinized first, weighing potential gains vs. risk.

And, I’ve come to thoroughly respect the value of asking good questions. I value those people the most because they are seeing things that others may not see. Every project offers an opportunity to learn. They’re all different. People are different. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What about….?”

  • Favorite/most proud & why?

I’m most proud of the Infection Prevention program that we built at Kaiser–the staff we hired and the quality of care Kaiser delivers in preventing infections.

(Quick story for context: Medicare, approximately 10 years ago, developed infection standard rates. Kaiser had already met the lowest rates and had for a number of years! This is a true tribute to the support and leadership of the organization to commit the resources and drive to putting patient care, safety, and prevention first.

As Regional Program Director for Southern California, my work impacted the care of four million people. I took this very seriously. And I took pride in my work. I’m proud of the diligence we executed with recruiting. We intentionally recruited people with the right vision, calling, and passion. (Quality people, quality teams, quality work.)

How do you feel about the future of our healthcare industry?  

I believe everyone has the right to healthcare. I feel, as many would agree, we live in uncertain times. I strongly believe that healthcare incentives need to be more focused on what’s best for the patient. Similarly, I believe that healthcare has to become a lot more integrated and patient-centric. I received advice from a former manager that I continue to live by to this day, “Just keep doing what you know is the right thing.”

Life outside of work—family, activities, etc.?

My husband and I live in sunny southern California. I have two grown children—one in the Dallas-Ft Worth Area and one in the Bay Area, which is convenient for connecting with the Mazzetti San Francisco office.

I also have three beautiful grandchildren.

My husband and I enjoy traveling—anything to facilitate new experiences.

 

 

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