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Mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections is common, but underreporting by hospitals limits meaningful interpretation.
To validate mandatory intensive care unit (ICU) central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) reporting by Oregon hospitals.
Blinded comparison of ICU CLABSI determination by hospitals and health department–based external reviewers with group adjudication.
Forty-four Oregon hospitals required by state law to report ICU CLABSIs.
Seventy-six patients with ICU CLABSIs and a systematic sample of 741 other patients with ICU-related bacteremia episodes.
External reviewers examined medical records and determined CLABSI status. All cases with CLABSI determinations discordant from hospital reporting were adjudicated through formal discussion with hospital staff, a process novel to validation of CLABSI reporting.
Hospital representatives and external reviewers agreed on CLABSI status in 782 (96%) of 817 bacteremia episodes (k = 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.70-0.84]). Among the 27 episodes identified as CLABSIs by external reviewers but not reported by hospitals, the final status was CLABSI in 16 (59%). The measured sensitivities of hospital ICU CLABSI reporting were 72% (95% CI, 62%-81%) with adjudicated CLABSI determination as the reference standard and 60% (95% CI, 51%-69%) with external review alone as the reference standard (P = .07). Validation increased the statewide ICU CLABSI rate from 1.21 (95% CI, 0.95-1.51) to 1.54 (95% CI, 1.25-1.88) CLABSIs/1,000 central line–days; ICU CLABSI rates increased by more than 1.00 CLABSI/1,000 central line–days in 6 (14%) hospitals.
Validating hospital CLABSI reporting improves accuracy of hospital-based CLABSI surveillance. Discussing discordant findings improves the quality of validation.
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