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Electronic Surveillance is Key to HAI Investigation

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Catching Clusters That Manual Observation Can Miss

Using SafetySurveillor to complete mandatory state reporting, the director of infection prevention and control at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., a facility in the Daughters of Charity Health System, identified a cluster of eight patients over a three-month period on one patient care unit with hospital-onset Clostridium difficile. The cluster would have been missed using manual surveillance. Without SafetySurveillor, it would have been almost impossible to identify cases manually. Most important, cluster recognition prompted immediate intervention to prevent further transmission of C. difficile. Having determined there had been a cluster of patients on a particular unit, infection prevention and control:

-- Formed a C. difficile task force on the nursing unit involved

-- Ordered all rooms on the unit to be thoroughly cleaned with bleach

-- Enforced compliance with proper wearing of gowns and gloves in contact precautions rooms

-- Reinforced proper handwashing techniques

Infection prevention and control also reviewed procedures for SafetySurveillor tags to ensure such issues are caught in the future.

Only one case of hospital-acquired C. difficile was reported on the unit since corrective measures were taken.

"We’ve had SafetySurveillor for about 15 months and I just love it," says Suzanne Cistulli, BSN, RN, CIC, director of infection prevention and control at O’Connor Hospital. "It helped me identify a problem with C. diff. on a unit that I wouldn't have realized otherwise. We would not have been able to spot that information before SafetySurveillor; we could not have done it manually. . . . One of the things I really like about SafetySurveillor is the alerts. On weekends, for instance, I can get alerts on my BlackBerry, and we can begin looking for these patients and taking proper measures in real time rather than waiting until Monday. I absolutely recommend it to other facilities. I can’t imagine doing my work today with out it. It’s an absolute necessity."

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