Time to change?

Interesting times with our own status of no government (though we have been here  before), Brexit, upsets at UEFA Euro 2016, why not throw another curly one out there…

In the first edition of the Colleges new journal Infection Disease and Health an article by Mitchell and Ferguson report the results of a study they undertook using administrative coding data to identify healthcare associated urinary tract infection across eight hospitals. Not surprisingly, they have added to the increasing body of literature that continues to demonstrate that using coding data to identify HAIs is extremely unreliable.

We all know HAI surveillance is resource intensive. But imagine if administrative data could be used for HAI surveillance. How much of the current surveillance burden on ICPs would be lifted?

There are many issues with using administrative data, such as the skill of the coder, completeness of documentation, identifying infections incubating on admission etc, as well a mismatch between codes and current HAI definitions.

At the ECCMID 2016 conference earlier in the year, Maaike van Mourik proposed that maybe it is time to review the HAI definitions so that administrative data codes, and electronic databases can be interrogated to identify HAIs? Sure, this may not pick up all HAIs, but neither do current systems…

Keeping in mind that HAI data could be (is) used to impose financial penalties and performance manage hospitals, would you be supportive of a change in HAI definitions that would increase the likelihood of administrative data codes being used to identify HAIs and:

  • be almost as accurate as current HAI surveillance definitions?
  • allow more time to implement preventative interventions?
  • could therefore be applied uniformly across all healthcare facilities?




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