IC Software Helps Infection Control Practitioners Identify Outbreaks


LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Infection control practitioners (ICPs) can now identify patterns consistent with infection outbreaks with the help of the Stericycle Infection Control Management (SICM) Software. Trends and areas of concern are all easily accessible in real time, thus providing faster response and helping to proactively prevent healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year approximately 2 million patients admitted to acute-care hospitals in the United States acquire infections unrelated to the condition for which they were hospitalized. Based on voluntary reporting, the CDC estimates hospital-acquired infections have become Americas leading cause of death from infectious disease with estimated fatalities ranging from 60,000 to 80,000 annually. Cost estimates for HAIs range from $2,300 to more than $8,000 per incident generating more than $4.5 billion in additional healthcare costs.  These costs result primarily from the increased length of hospital stay, a significant portion of which may not be reimbursable.  Infection control programs have consistently been shown to be one of the most cost-effective investments in public health.


To combat this growing concern as well as new compliance mandates by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), Stericycle, a leader in infection control and healthcare compliance services, has partnered with Wescom, a Canadian software company, to produce the SICM Software.


We are constantly seeking to advance the industry by developing new technologies and improved products that expand the frontiers of medical compliance services, says Rich Foss, Stericycles executive vice president of corporate development.  This includes a leading-edge infection control management program.


The SICM Software is currently used by more than 200 hospitals and 100 long-term care facilities and offers three distinctive features:  infection surveillance, outbreak management and infection analysis. 


Infection Surveillance

With the SICM Software, patient infections are quickly recorded with an easy-to-use infection wizard that helps to simplify and standardize data input.  Once data is entered, the program automatically generates control memos to alert affected departments.  All daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual summaries, statistics, comparative reports and graphs are also generated automatically, reducing the need for manual compilation of infection control reports.  I have limited time to spend on surveillance work, says SICM Software user Roger Drahota, an ICP at Fairmount Community Hospital in Fairmount, Minn.  This software speeds up the process of finishing end-of-the-month data.


Outbreak Management

SICM Software also effectively manages all outbreak documentation and protocol. The program is designed to track all details of the outbreak including line listing, case definitions, associated costs and control measures. The program automatically pulls data entered in the infection surveillance module to create line listings and epidemic curves.  Pick lists and libraries also speed data entry, allowing outbreak documentation to be executed promptly.  The software gives me basic line listings, which are easy to present to my infection control committee members to help meet JCAHO standards, Drahota states.


Infection Analysis

Finally, the program features a powerful tool that allows ICPs to thoroughly analyze infection data and produce a wide range of statistical, graphical and analytical reports.  Discovering causes and trends, identifying effective treatments, investigating problem areas and examining control measures has never been easier for ICPs.


The ability to print off dynamic reports in a matter of seconds allows ICPs to spend more time in prevention and education.  The software gives me the ability to extract data specific to a particular time period and provides professional looking documents for review, says SICM Software user Nancy Probst, director of patient care services at Northern Itasca Health Care Center in Bigfork, Minn.


Complete training and a user-friendly interface make operation easy.  Pre-populated dropdown libraries are customizable for each facility, saving time in data entry and keeping all cases consistent for easy future reporting.  The software also gives ICPs the ability to create custom drop-down menus to match a facilitys specific needs.


In addition, SICM software is a scalable program, meaning it can be set up in different care environments for many different situations. Every software version can be set up on the network, with an unlimited number of workstations running the program and connecting to a shared database. Facilities also have the option of running the program on a stand-alone workstation and backing up the database on a network.


SICM is the only software to have an HL7 Data Integration Manager, which is a real-time ADT (Admission/Discharge/Transfer) integration module installed on the server.  Automatic population of patient demographic information saves users time in data entry and ensures consistency of information. Ultimately, this software integration module saves time, gives ICPs the ability to easily extract data from a specific time period and provides professional looking documents for review.


Founded in 1989, Stericycle has become a leading provider of regulated medical waste management services in North America. Today, the company serves more than 300,000 customers, including hospitals, blood banks, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical and dental offices, outpatient clinics, laboratories and more. 


Source: Stericycle

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