A look behind the ACHS Infection Control Clinical Indicators

Hao Zheng1, Philip L Russo2

1 The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, 5 Macarthur Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, hzheng@achs.org.au

2 Deakin University, Melbourne Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, p.russo@deakin.edu.au

 

Clinical indicators (CIs) have been widely used in health care to assess, monitor and compare performance and to identify opportunities for improvement. The Clinical Indicator Program at the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) was established in 1989, which provides the world’s largest dedicated CI data collection and reporting service.

The Infection Control CIs were introduced in 2002, and comprise the largest number of CIs of all sets, and is the second highest set reported on by healthcare organisations (HCOs). For CIs to be meaningful, they need to be clinically significant, of high volume and interest, actionable and measurable. With this in mind, in July 2017, a multidisciplinary Working Party was established to review the Infection Control CI set.

The Working Party recommended several amendments including:

  • Cessation of superficial surgical site infection CIs
  • Inclusion of contaminated colorectal surgeries
  • A reduction in the number of haemodialysis access-associated blood stream infection CIs

The indicators for sepsis management and multi-resistant organisms infections were considered for future inclusion. The revised version 5 of the Infection Control CI set will be released for data collection in 2018.

Indicator measures for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) provide vital tools to monitor HAIs, and serve as incentives for hospitals to reduce HAI rates. HCOs have reported that the Infection Control CIs have influenced policy and practice, and triggered the implementation of quality improvement initiatives, including education and staff appointments, thus improving quality and patient care.