Electronic HAI surveillance, benefits, challenges and opportunities

Philip L Russo1,2,3

1 Deakin/Alfred Health Nursing Centre for Research, Deakin University, VIC

2 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University QLD

3 Avondale College of Higher Education, NSW

 

Surveillance of healthcare associated infections is the cornerstone of infection prevention programs. Studies have demonstrated that a large proportion of infection prevention time is directed towards undertaking manual HAI surveillance, yet the accuracy of this data is often uncertain. Surveillance data accuracy is always crucial, but the trend towards public reporting of hospital performance data, and a potential for financial penalties further emphasises the importance of accurate HAI data. With the advent of electronic medical records, the trend towards electronic HAI surveillance has become more achievable, and research has demonstrated that in some circumstances electronic surveillance data is more accurate and reliable when compared to traditional surveillance methods. Further, uniform electronic HAI surveillance for central line associated bloodstream infection surveillance has been shown to provide more reliable data particularly when ranking and benchmarking hospital performance when compared to traditional manual methods.

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