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Electronic surveillance systems (ESSs) that utilize existing information in databases are more efficient than conventional infection surveillance methods.
To develop an ESS for monitoring bloodstream infections (BSIs) and assess whether data obtained from the ESS were in agreement with data obtained by traditional manual medical-record review.
An ESS was developed by linking data from regional laboratory and hospital administrative databases. Definitions for excluding BSI episodes representing contamination and duplicate episodes were developed and applied. Infections were classified as nosocomial infections, healthcare-associated community-onset infections, or community-acquired infections. For a random sample of episodes, data in the ESS were compared with data obtained by independent medical chart review.
From the records of the 306 patients whose infections were selected for comparative review, the ESS identified 323 episodes of BSI, of which 107 (33%) were classified as healthcare-associated community-onset infections, 108 (33%) were classified as community-acquired infections, 107 (33%) were classified as nosocomial infections, and 1 (0.3%) could not be classified. In comparison, 310 episodes were identified by use of medical chart review, of which 116 (37%) were classified as healthcare-associated community-onset infections, 95 (31%) as community-acquired infections, and 99 (32%) as nosocomial infections. For 302 episodes of BSI, there was concordance between the findings of the ESS and those of traditional manual chart review. Of the additional 21 discordant episodes that were identified by use of the ESS, 17 (81%) were classified as representing isolation of skin contaminants, by use of chart review. Of the additional 8 discordant episodes further identified by use of chart review, most were classified as repeat or polymicrobial episodes of disease. There was an overall 85% agreement between the findings of the ESS and those of chart review (K = 0.78; standard error, K = 0.04) for classification according to location of acquisition.
Our novel ESS allows episodes of BSI to be identified and classified with a high degree of accuracy. This system requires validation in other cohorts and settings.
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