Hospitals use infection-control software primarily for reporting

Most healthcare providers who use infection-control software do so to ease the burden of increasingly complex, mandatory government reporting rather than to monitor their hospital's acquired infection rates, according to a newly released KLAS report.

"Infection Control 2012: Breaking the Barriers and Getting Value," finds that justifying the expense has been a barrier to 70 percent of those without such a system, according to a KLAS announcement.

"In an age of analytics, most infection preventionists are still mired in mandatory reporting," report author Coray Tate said in a statement. "But so many requirements are coming down the pike that infection-control solutions might go from being nice to have to being a must-have."

A previous KLAS report found a fast-growing market for the software, with 60 percent of those using the software saying they've seen a reduction in infection rates. The software merely alerts officials to certain kinds of infections that must then be addressed on the floor. Integration with other hospital systems, according to the previous report, is key.

The latest survey, which rated products from CareFusion, Hospira, Premier, Sentri7 (Wolters Kluwer), Vecna, and VigiLanz, finding gaps in all of them.

"Although a system is a hundred times better than paper, all infection-control vendors have room to improve their products and bring better value--which will help providers justify buying a system," Tate said.

With hospitals to be penalized for poor safety and quality under healthcare reform, facilities have greater incentive to clean up their acts. Reporting is believed to be improving, but much work remains to be done. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, for instance, reported the number of infections down and a factor in only a small percentage of hospitalizations, but those cases cost three times as much as patients without hospital-acquired infections.

In a collaboration focusing on reducing sepsis mortality, Wolters Kluwer Health and The Altos Group are enrolling hospitals in a pilot program combining mobile technology, clinical content and change management to identify and intervene in sepsis cases earlier. The program aims to address the workflow and human factors that play into the problem, according to an announcement.

The University of San Francisco's Integrated Nurse Leadership Program recently reported cutting mortality rates in half at nine California hospitals through a fast-track sepsis screening and diagnosis program.

To learn more:
- read the KLAS announcement
- here's the Wolters Kluwer announcement

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