Infection prevention and control (IPC) workflows are often retrospective and manual. New tools, however, have entered the field to facilitate rapid prospective monitoring of infections in hospitals. Although artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled platforms facilitate timely, on-demand integration of clinical data feeds with pathogen whole-genome sequencing (WGS), a standardized workflow to fully harness the power of such tools is lacking. We report a novel, evidence-based workflow that promotes quicker infection surveillance via AI-assisted clinical and WGS data analysis. The algorithm suggests clusters based on a combination of similar minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) data, timing of sample collection, and shared location stays between patients. It helps to proactively guide IPC professionals during investigation of infectious outbreaks and surveillance of multidrug-resistant organisms and healthcare-acquired infections. Methods: Our team established a 1-year workgroup comprised of IPC practitioners, clinical experts, and scientists in the field. We held weekly roundtables to study lessons learned in an ongoing surveillance effort at a tertiary care hospital—utilizing Philips IntelliSpace Epidemiology (ISEpi), an AI-powered system—to understand how such a tool can enhance practice. Based on real-time case discussions and evidence from the literature, a workflow guidance tool and checklist were codified. Results: In our workflow, data-informed clusters posed by ISEpi underwent triage and expert follow-up analysis to assess: (1) likelihood of transmission(s); (2) potential vector(s) identity; (3) need to request WGS; and (4) intervention(s) to be pursued, if warranted. In a representative sample (spanning October 17, 2019, to November 7, 2019) of 67 total isolates suggested for inclusion in 19 unique cluster investigations, we determined that 9 investigations merited follow-up. Collectively, these 9 investigations involved 21 patients and required 115 minutes to review in ISEpi and an additional 70 minutes of review outside of ISEpi. After review, 6 investigations were deemed unlikely to represent a transmission; the other 3 had potential to represent transmission for which interventions would be performed. Conclusions: This study offers an important framework for adaptation of existing infection control workflow strategies to leverage the utility of rapidly integrated clinical and WGS data. This workflow can also facilitate time-sensitive decisions regarding sequencing of specific pathogens given the preponderance of available clinical data supporting investigations. In this regard, our work sets a new standard of practice: precision infection prevention (PIP). Ongoing effort is aimed at development of AI-powered capabilities for enterprise-level quality and safety improvement initiatives.
Funding: Philips Healthcare provided support for this study.
Disclosures: Alan Doty and Juan Jose Carmona report salary from Philips Healthcare.