Many HAIS go unreported, California review finds
Despite a California law that requires hospitals to report their incidences of healthcare-associated infections, many such infections still go unreported, according to a review conducted by the state’s public health department. Using surveillance data gathered last year at 100 volunteer facilities, reviewers found that hospitals failed to identify and report more than one-third, or 68 out of 180, central-line infections. Hospitals also missed numerous other types of infections, including C. difficile and vancomycin-resistant enterococci infections. About 9% of C. difficile cases were missed, and more than a quarter of VRE cases, or 41 of 149, went unreported during the review period, department officials said. Confusing infection-reporting protocols were often to blame, officials said. Under California law, hospitals are required to report infections using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a secure, online surveillance system. But according to the department’s review, hospital staff were sometimes unclear about NHSN definitions and rules. The public health department offered several suggestions for improvement, including enhanced validation and increased use of electronic surveillance systems.