Despite a California law that requires hospitals to report their incidences of healthcare-associated infections, many such infections still go unreported, according to a review conducted by the state's public health department (PDF).
Many HAIs go unreported, Calif. review finds
Using surveillance data gathered last year at 100 volunteer facilities, reviewers found that hospitals failed to identify and report more than one-third, or 68 out of 180, central-line infections. Hospitals also missed numerous other types of infections, including C. Difficile and vancomycin-resistant enterococci. More than a quarter of VRE cases, or 41 of 149, went unreported during the review period, the department said. And hospitals missed about 9% of C. Difficile cases.
Confusing infection-reporting protocols and requirements were often to blame, officials said. Under California law, hospitals are required to report infections using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a secure, online surveillance system. But according to the department’s review, hospital staff were sometimes unclear about NHSN definitions, present-on-admission requirements and other rules.
The public health department included a number of suggestions for improvement, including enhanced validation and increased use of electronic surveillance systems.
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