A secure, Web-based reporting network that lets facilities track infections associated with healthcare is now available to all healthcare facilities in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today.
The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) provides multiple options for data analysis and more flexibility for sharing information both within and outside a facility -- including the general public, if the facility so chooses.
"Opening this system to all hospitals is a milestone for health protection," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's Division of Health Care and Quality Promotion. "Information is power, and the information tools that NHSN provides help healthcare facilities prevent health care-associated infections (HAIs), including MRSA."
The system builds upon CDC's National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance
(NNIS) system which, for more than 30 years, was the gold standard system for tracking HAIs. CDC developed the NNIS system to help infection control professionals and hospitals stay abreast of the rapidly expanding science and practice of infection prevention and control, and better manage episodes of HAIs. The NNIS system had about 300 participating facilities nationwide.
"We expect nearly 1,000 facilities will take advantage, in coming months, of NHSN's many capabilities," said Cardo. "The information collected from this system is essential to develop and maintain effective prevention programs at the local level. This information allows a hospital to track their progress and direct efforts toward patient safety improvement."
To date, NHSN has more than 600 participants and is utilized in 45 states. The CDC is already partnering with dozens of health care facilities, including Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, to use NHSN as a tool to track the prevention of a common infection caused by MRSA. Opening the NHSN to all facilities nationwide will allow even more hospitals to focus on preventing this potentially deadly infection, as well as others
NHSN has been recently improved to meet the needs of states with mandatory public reporting of HAIs. Public reporting of HAIs is determined on a state by state basis by legislatures. The states of California, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia have designated NHSN as part of their mechanism to implement legislation requiring hospitals to report HAIs.