Rise of the machines – the future is here!

Matthew Richards

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Melbourne Health, Parkville, VIC, Australia


In 2010 a commercial electronic infection control software program was introduced to assist with managing the surveillance, consultation and work undertaken by the Infection Prevention and Surveillance Service (IPSS) at Melbourne Health (MH). It is now an integral component of the infection control program. In response to a growing clinician demand for real time electronic and automated alerts and data, the utilisation of the program has expanded beyond the confines of IPSS.

This is a description of the expansion of an electronic software program introduced 6 years ago and its application and utilisation for clinicians and managers.

Outcomes to date
The program facilitates clinician decision-making, monitors local infection trends and supports research. Automatic alerts for targeted positive blood cultures and clinical specimens are sent electronically to provide timely and appropriate medical intervention. It’s used to monitor device-associated infections outside intensive care. It’s electronically connected to the organisational reporting dashboard; this informs Nurse Managers of real time admissions of infectious patients and the application of appropriate isolation precautions.

The program provides a platform for monitoring and alerting endoscopy staff to positive endoscope surveillance cultures. This supports staff to comply with best practice guidelines for equipment cleaning and reprocessing.

Since its inception the scope of the electronic infection control program has steadily expanded in terms of its usability and functionality. It is easily configurable to meet a growing demand for real time infection control data.

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