Waiting for (Godot) the mandate: Is your surveillance fit for purpose?

Philip Russo1

1Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research – Alfred Health Partnership, Deakin University.


Standard 3 of the National Safety and Quality Health Services standards require that hospitals have healthcare associated infection (HAI) surveillance systems in place. The type, method, intensity and other elements of a surveillance program are determined by the facility or its jurisdiction. It is crucial that HAI surveillance is purpose driven, and that the purpose is clearly identified and routinely reviewed. Although substantial resources are required to undertake HAI surveillance, satisfying mandates and accreditation requirements may not be in alignment local surveillance and infection prevention program needs. Recent research has identified that surveillance mandates may not be targeting the infections that incur the greatest burden. Current surveillance systems may not be efficient, meaningful or fit for purpose.

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