Journal Article

The Changing Face of Surveillance for Health Care—Associated Infections

Jerome I. Tokars, Chesley Richards, Mary Andrus, Monina Klevens, Amy Curtis, Teresa Horan, John Jernigan and Denise Cardo

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 39, issue 9, pages 1347-1352
Published in print November 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/425000
The Changing Face of Surveillance for Health Care—Associated Infections

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Surveillance of health care—associated infections and antimicrobial resistance is an important aspect of prevention. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had 3 national health care surveillance systems. During 2004–2005, these will be combined into a single Internet-based system, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The NHSN will feature a number of enhancements, and ultimately, all US hospitals and other health care facilities will be encouraged to participate. Health care surveillance using standard methods has been very useful and is cited as a model for prevention. However, alternative approaches may improve health care surveillance by reducing complexity, decreasing the burden of data collection, and improving accuracy. These alternative approaches include adopting simpler methods and more-objective definitions, using sampling and estimation, substituting information in computer databases for manually collected data, and increasing surveillance for process measures with known prevention efficacy. Maintaining successful features of standard systems, adopting alternate surveillance approaches, and exploiting new technologies, such as the Internet, will make health care surveillance an even better tool for prevention.

Journal Article.  3884 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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