The impact of electronic surveillance systems for healthcare associated infections on infection prevention resources: A systematic review of the literature

Dr Philip L Russo1,2,3, Professor Ramon Z Shaban3,4,5, Dr Deborough MacBeth3,4, Ms Abigail Carter2, Professor Brett G Mitchell2,3

1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia,

2Avondale College of Higher Education, Wahroonga, Australia,

3Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia,

4Gold Coast Health, Gold Coast, Australia,

5Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia



Surveillance of healthcare associated infections is fundamental for infection prevention. The methods and practices for surveillance have evolved as technology becomes more advanced. The availability of electronic surveillance systems (ESS) has increased, and yet adoption of ESS is slow. It is argued that ESS deliver savings through automation, particularly in terms of human resourcing and infection prevention (IP) staff time. This presentation describes the findings of a systematic review on the impact of electronic surveillance software (ESS) on IP staff resources.


A systematic search was conducted of electronic databases Medline (PubMed) and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) published between 1st January 2006 and 31st December 2016 with analysis using Newcastle–Ottawa Scale.


2832 articles were reviewed of which 16 studies were included in this review. A reduction in IP staff time to undertake surveillance was demonstrated in 13 studies. The remaining three did not allow for any estimation of the effect in terms of IP staff time. None of the studies demonstrated an increase in IPC staff time.


The results of this review demonstrate that adopting ESS yield considerable dividends in IC staff time. This has the potential to enable reinvestment into other aspects of infection prevention and control practice. Business case methodologies for the adoption of ESS should factor in benefits derived from improved efficiency of IP staff surveillance time.


Phil has worked in infection prevention and control for over 25 years in a number of different positions including: several roles in infection prevention in major Victorian hospitals, inaugural Operational Director of the VICNISS Coordinating Centre and National Manager of Hand Hygiene Australia. Phil holds a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology, and in 2016 completed a PhD at Queensland University of Technology Centre for Research Excellence on Reducing Healthcare Associated Infections on Evidence Based Recommendations for National Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance.

Phil is a Board Member of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control and Chair of its Research Committee. He is also a member of the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care HAI Advisory Committee and the National Health and Medical Research Council Infection Control Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Phil has presented at both national and international conferences and published over 50 peer reviewed articles.

Recent Comments