Hospitals' use of infection surveillance software growing fast

A new KLAS report ranks vendors in the increasingly important area of infection surveillance software. According to 200 hospital respondents, including 174 infection preventionists (IPs), the top three vendors are CareFusion, Hospira (TheraDoc), and Premier. Hospitals with under 400 beds were most satisfied with CareFusion, while larger hospitals liked Hospira best.

Partly because of new Medicare policies, including non-payment for hospital-acquired conditions, the use of infection surveillance software is growing rapidly. KLAS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of hospitals are using "a real-time infection surveillance system," up from 10 to 15 percent in 2009. This shows that the market has a lot of room for further growth, KLAS notes.

The Advisory Board consulting firm, which has partnered with Vecna to market one of the dozen programs that KLAS surveyed, told FierceHealthIT that 80 percent of hospitals now use some kind of software to track infection rates. However, The Advisory Board agrees that only a quarter of the facilities employ dedicated surveillance applications.

The software, which helps facilities report data to state and federal agencies, does not reduce infection rates by itself. By alerting hospital IPs to certain kinds of infections, though, it enables them to go on the floor and work with nurses to attack the root causes. Sixty percent of the respondents said they'd seen infection rates decline since they adopted the software.

The effectiveness of infection surveillance applications depends largely on how well integrated they are with other hospital systems. The programs in the KLAS survey varied greatly in their interface depth. The percentage of organizations reporting real-time or batch interfaces with pharmacy systems, for example, ranged from 29 percent for those using CareFusion to 78 percent for Premier to 92 percent for Hospira. 

To learn more:
- see the KLAS press release
- purchase the report 

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