Pharmacy OneSource Blog

What to Look for in Infection Prevention Surveillance Software

Posted on 09/29/14

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Infection preventionists need to gather and analyze data to respond to demands by the public and regulators for increased reporting and transparency of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates. As a result, HAI surveillance absorbs a significant amount of the infection prevention team’s efforts, leaving less time for crucial infection prevention program components such as education, one-on-one mentoring, and leadership of performance improvement activities.

Infection prevention surveillance software offers infection prevention teams a way to rebalance their time by monitoring multiple data feeds, alerting infection prevention staff to sentinel events, simplifying reporting, graphically tracking trends, improving outbreak identification and supporting antimicrobial stewardship goals.

Healthcare organizations considering an electronic surveillance software should ask the following questions:

  1. Does the software receive real-time data feeds from admission/discharge/transfer, laboratory, surgery, pharmacy, radiology, and the electronic medical record to enable infection preventionists to identify patients with possible HAIs?

  2. Does the software provide real-time electronic alerts for quick detection of sentinel organisms?

  3. Can the electronic surveillance software analyze trends in infection rates and actual outbreaks?

  4. Can the IP staff customize the software’s alerts?

  5. Does the surveillance software generate an antibiogram that clinicians can utilize in decision making for antibiotic stewardship initiatives?

  6. Is the software easy to navigate so that the IPs and other clinicians will use it and understand how the functionality can be integrated into their workflow?

  7. Does the software comply with all the requirements of the HIPAA/HITECH Omnibus Rule?

  8. Is it Meaningful Use certified?

  9. Does the survaillance software contain documentation required for National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) reporting and stay current with modifications to the documentation based on updates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)? Are these documents completed by the software, requiring only validation by the IP?

  10. Can internal reports be customized and can historical trends be graphically presented?

  11. Is the software supported by an experienced vendor dedicated to continuous improvement and customer engagement with a deep understanding of your clinical culture and patient safety goals?

  12. Does the software require the purchase of new hardware, frequent software updates or maintenance by dedicated hospital information technology staff?

Do you look for other features in an electronic surveillance software for your hospital? Tell us what’s most important to you in the comment section below.

Understand Infection Prevention's Role in Antimicrobial Stewardship

Topics: Infection Prevention

About the Author

Cathy Thompson, MBA Cathy is a Biomedical Engineer with an MBA by education and has spent the majority of her career in the healthcare industry marketing both medical devices and IT applications.