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In response to the need for expanded monitoring and reporting of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) today announced its support for the use of automated surveillance technologies in the healthcare setting as an essential part of infection prevention and control activities. The recommendations are published in the APIC position paper, “The Importance of Surveillance Technologies in the Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).”
Surveillance technologies are computerized systems designed to collect infection data, thereby allowing infection preventionists to rapidly protect patients by identifying and investigating potential clusters of HAIs in real time.
Most healthcare facilities currently use a manual surveillance method that can be limited in scope and is labor intensive. Automated surveillance technologies streamline the review and collection of data, providing a larger amount of information and reducing staff time spent on surveillance and clerical tasks.
“Automated surveillance eases the burden of data management for infection preventionists and allows them to focus on the activities that protect patients, like walking rounds, observing procedures and educating healthcare personnel,” said Linda R. Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, lead author of APIC’s position paper and director of infection prevention and control at Rochester General Health System. “In addition, it can help hospitals save money by targeting areas for tailored elimination strategies that reduce infections and excess cost.”
In a recent survey of APIC members, only 1 in 5 had electronic data mining technology. The APIC position paper outlines many benefits of automated surveillance, including efficient review of infection data, rapid identification of outbreaks, expanded and better-defined infection prevention activities, reduced infection prevention department time spent on surveillance and clerical tasks, improved response to public health issues, assistance with regulatory compliance, and enhanced antibiotic stewardship programs.
“Surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is the cornerstone of effective infection prevention programs, but without automation it consumes a considerable amount of an infection preventionist’s time. This limits time spent on what is value-added to the patient -- education of healthcare personnel and performance improvement activities,” said Greene. “Automated surveillance offers a more efficient and accurate means of obtaining HAI data, provides the opportunity to expand surveillance beyond typical high-risk areas within the healthcare facility and allows infection preventionists to improve prevention practices.”
To read the APIC Position Paper and access an assessment tool to help facilities select an appropriate system, CLICK HERE