Why are we not using existing data for healthcare-associated infection surveillance?

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This is a guest post by Dr Gabriel Birgand (bio below), a researcher at Imperial College London…

Surveillance is an essential component in any infection control programme. In UK, the surveillance of infections associated with some procedures (e.g. certain orthopaedic procedures) is mandated by Public Health England. This surveillance requires time and represents either a full time job (i.e. dedicated nurses doing the data collection and follow-up of patients undergoing surgery) or additional work (i.e. surveillance of catheter-associated urinary tract infection by infection control nurses). This process is time-consuming, expensive and dependent on the rigour of the person in charge of the surveillance. Despite proven value, the involved nature of the method makes these manual HCAI surveillance systems difficult cumbersome to deliver. Moreover, hospitals often struggle to recruit and retain nursing staff dedicated to surveillance meaning that reporting is frequently incorporated into other posts, which interrupts other clinical duties and may reduce the detail of reporting.

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