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Study: Federal Reporting of Infection Data is Time-Consuming

June 26, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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Collecting and reporting infection data to federal health agencies is not the soundest strategy, according to a new research effort. 
Infection preventionists at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (Somerville, N.J.) tabulated the time it was necessary to complete reports on efforts to reduce healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at their hospital. They found that it took more than five hours each day. Instead, the researchers say that hospitals should focus on ensuring the healthcare personnel are adhering to basic infection prevention practices such as hand hygiene. 
The researchers looked at the number of laboratory test reports--urine, blood, wound, and sputum--received and reviewed in July, August, and December 2013, and January 2014 at the 355-bed acute care community hospital. Based on estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) on each infection event report, they calculated the total time it took to review the lab reports and complete reporting. It amounted to 118.29 hours each mont--amount five hours per day. 
"HAI reporting exposes problems, drives improvements, and allows for benchmarking against national targets. But without adequate staffing, the burden of reporting takes time away from infection prevention activities that protect patients at the bedside," stated lead author, Sharon L. Parrillo, R.N.. assistant director, Infection Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. 
The study will be presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

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