Validating SABSI Data – is it Worthwhile?

Rebecca McCann1, Simone Tempone2, Michelle Stirling3

1Healthcare Associated Infection Unit, Department of Health, 189 Royal Street, EAST PERTH, Western Australia, 6004.
2Healthcare Associated Infection Unit, Department of Health, 189 Royal Street, EAST PERTH, Western Australia, 6004.
3Healthcare Associated Infection Unit, Department of Health, 189 Royal Street, EAST PERTH, Western Australia, 6004.

Introduction
The Healthcare Infection Surveillance Western Australia (HISWA) program is coordinated by the Healthcare Associated Infection Unit (HAIU) in the Department of Health. Surveillance of healthcare-associated S.aureus bloodstream infection (HA-SABSI) commenced in October 2007. Following the first year of surveillance WA reported low rates in comparison to other jurisdictions. A validation exercise was undertaken to establish if all HA-SABSI were being captured. This work identified that hospitals were under-reporting HA-SABSI and monthly validation by the HAIU was introduced.

Methods
Public hospitals utilise a single provider for all pathology services. This enables us to produce monthly reports of all blood cultures positive for S.aureus. The use of a unique patient identifier allows the clinical information management system to be accessed and a clinical review is undertake. In addition to identifying information on HA-SABSI, a subset of data is also collected on community-onset SABSI.

Results
WA has one of the highest HA-SABSI rates (although below the national benchmark) in Australia and the most frequently identified cause is attributable to intravascular devices, followed by procedural interventions. The incidence of MRSA HA-SABSI remains low. The HAIU continues to identify HA-SABSI cases that are missed by participating hospitals and also identifies HA-SABSI that are not reportable under current systems.

Conclusion
Validation of data is an important component of HAI surveillance. It ensures data being used for performance monitoring or national reporting is valid and reliable. It adds credibility when surveillance data is used to modify clinical practice. It identifies areas of concern for future research.

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