Background: Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) surveillance is essential for most infection prevention programs and continuous epidemiological data can be used to inform healthcare personal, allocate resources, and evaluate interventions to prevent HAIs. Many HAI surveillance systems today are based on time-consuming and resource-intensive manual reviews of patient records. The objective of HAI-proactive, a Swedish triple-helix innovation project, is to develop and implement a fully automated HAI surveillance system based on electronic health record data. Furthermore, the project aims to develop machine-learning–based screening algorithms for early prediction of HAI at the individual patient level. Methods: The project is performed with support from Sweden’s Innovation Agency in collaboration among academic, health, and industry partners. Development of rule-based and machine-learning algorithms is performed within a research database, which consists of all electronic health record data from patients admitted to the Karolinska University Hospital. Natural language processing is used for processing free-text medical notes. To validate algorithm performance, manual annotation was performed based on international HAI definitions from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Sepsis-3 criteria. Currently, the project is building a platform for real-time data access to implement the algorithms within Region Stockholm. Results: The project has developed a rule-based surveillance algorithm for sepsis that continuously monitors patients admitted to the hospital, with a sensitivity of 0.89 (95% CI, 0.85–0.93), a specificity of 0.99 (0.98–0.99), a positive predictive value of 0.88 (0.83–0.93), and a negative predictive value of 0.99 (0.98–0.99). The healthcare-associated urinary tract infection surveillance algorithm, which is based on free-text analysis and negations to define symptoms, had a sensitivity of 0.73 (0.66–0.80) and a positive predictive value of 0.68 (0.61–0.75). The sensitivity and positive predictive value of an algorithm based on significant bacterial growth in urine culture only was 0.99 (0.97–1.00) and 0.39 (0.34–0.44), respectively. The surveillance system detected differences in incidences between hospital wards and over time. Development of surveillance algorithms for pneumonia, catheter-related infections and Clostridioides difficile infections, as well as machine-learning–based models for early prediction, is ongoing. We intend to present results from all algorithms. Conclusions: With access to electronic health record data, we have shown that it is feasible to develop a fully automated HAI surveillance system based on algorithms using both structured data and free text for the main healthcare-associated infections.
Funding: Sweden’s Innovation Agency and Stockholm County Council