APIC Supports Surveillance Technologies in Prevention of Health Care Infections

In response to the need for expanded monitoring and reporting of health care-associated infections (HAIs), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) recently announced its support for the use of automated surveillance technologies in the health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 one in five had electronic data mining technology. The 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.

To view the paper, click here.

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