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Reducing Antimicrobial Resistance through Improved use of Laboratory Testing Information in Healthcare Facilities


Background: The reduction and eventual elimination of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and the combatting of antibiotic resistance in the pathogens causing these infections are national public health priorities as demonstrated in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) national action plans. Public reporting of HAIs by hospitals using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) is mandated in over half of all states and the number of states is increasing annually. The public reporting of three HAIs is currently incentivized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and this program is slated to expand dramatically in coming years. Meanwhile, as the crisis of antibiotic resistance continues to grow, the need for more detailed surveillance data will increase to preserve remaining drug activity. Electronic data submission provides the best method for meeting increasing informational needs while containing the costs of public reporting. Already several hundred hospitals are submitting electronic data to NHSN to meet present and future mandates for public reporting. Project Goal: To develop a technical prototype for summarizing antimicrobial resistance data (as outlined on the NHSN website) using a laboratory or infection control information system and reporting to NHSN within the CDC clinical document architecture specifications ( It is expected that a successful project will implement a research plan and evaluate (1) the validity (i.e., accuracy) of the data reported to NHSN and (2) the usability for hospital or regional-based collaborative efforts on reducing antimicrobial resistant infections. Impact: Success of this project would demonstrate the value of electronic submission of antimicrobial resistance data to NHSN, therefore providing risk adjusted resistance patterns to guide infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship activities at a facility. Infection control information systems and laboratory information systems that enable such electronic reporting will consider this functionality an attractive option to hospitals to comply with state mandates on reporting and adhering to emerging federal policies in this arena. If the experience of reporting HAI data electronically from vendor systems to NHSN is any indication, demonstrating the utility of such reporting for antimicrobial resistance data will be perceived by hospitals engaged in infection prevention activities, either by mandate or quality improvement programs, as an attractive option in making decisions regarding hospital-based health information systems.
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