Meaningful Data Collection

Question: As a critical access hospital with fewer than 25 beds and an average census of 10 patients per day, our numbers are obviously much smaller than most facilities. We are attempting to determine if our infection control data should be presented on the basis of 100 or 1,000 patients. At this time I list both options in my reports. GJ, Indiana

Answer: We all have questions about the best way in which to collect and report our data in order to make it meaningful.  I would recommend consulting with a statistician at a larger facility or the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) program, formerly NNIS, since your numbers are so small. It may be more advantageous to monitor processes rather than rates in your case. For example, what is your compliance (percentage) with hand hygiene, central line care, or handling of urinary catheters per your policies and procedures?  Also, you may need to report you results over a longer period of time (i.e., semi-annually vs. quarterly, etc.). I hope this helps.    

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