Improving collection and reporting of data for action

Worth LJ1,2

1 Victorian Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS), Doherty Institute, Melbourne Victoria,

2 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Victoria

Robust surveillance systems for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) underpin effectual prevention programs. The integrity and sustainability of HAI surveillance programs is determined by the ability of data to inform quality improvement. The objective of this session is to outline methods for improving the collection and reporting of data.

Appropriate data collection requires clear purpose and objectives, using standardised and reproducible methods. Local programs must be structured according to identified needs (e.g. increased infection burden, emerging antimicrobial resistance), and international surveillance frameworks may be used to apply standardised methodology. Efficient collection should utilise existing systems where possible, as well as ‘smart’ data (automated and electronic).

Data reporting will be considered from the perspective of hospitals and surveillance networks, and will include the need for setting of surveillance objectives, defining the intended audience, as well as the need for risk-adjustment and timely data to enable quality improvement. Specific examples of HAI data for quality improvement in acute and aged care will be discussed.

Future challenges include increased demand for data using existing resources, and involvement of consumers in data collection and reporting. Potential solutions include periodic surveillance, and cycling of companion process measures to accompany HAI outcome data. Finally, quality improvement will be considered from the perspective of key stakeholders, with examples of effective programs utilising data elements that are interpretable by clinical staff and key stakeholders supporting infection prevention programs.