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Infection Control & Patient Safety

Infection Preventionists Not Benefiting From Health Information Exchanges

Published February 22, 2013 9:59 AM by Linda Jones
Anyone in healthcare is aware of recent initiatives from CMS and CDC to increase the use of medical health records (and use the data) and to decrease infections. And one would image you could use the former to achieve the latter. But a new study from Regenstrief Institute finds that's not being done.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging local and state health departments to use health information technologies to improve infectious disease reporting and prevention activities. We found that while hospital-based infection preventionists  ...  may have access to health information technology, they lack specially designed computer tools needed to sift through the massive amounts of data in electronic medical records," said lead author Brian Dixon, MPA, PhD, Regenstrief Institute investigator and assistant professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. 

The study measured the awareness, adoption and use of electronic medical record systems and health information exchange by hospital-based infection preventionists to report and share information. While the majority (70%) of the infection preventionists said they had access to EMR data, just 20% reported being involved in the design of the system; therefore study authors question if the systems offer the right tools and data needed to study infections. Also, just 10% of infection preventionists said their organizations were formally engaged in health information exchange activities. 

The study, "Infection Preventionists' Awareness of and Engagement in Health Information Exchange to Improve Public Health Surveillance" was published online on Feb. 18, 2013, in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study was funded by the CDC. 

Keep up on infection control issues and take a quiz to test your knowledge on the Infection Control Resource Center.

posted by Linda Jones


I would like to share what we are doing to help reduce cross-contamination of HAI.  Our company is due to launch this summer, when we began Brenda June LLC, it was for style, comfort, and professional looking uniforms. We have expanded that goal to educate caregivers and the public on MRSA and c-difficile to reduce cross-contamination. I really appreciated the quiz and believe it can be expanded to add more value to the already invaluable information.

Sandy Yocum, Healthcare Uniforms - Marketing & Sales, BrendaJune LLC February 26, 2013 5:26 PM
Akron OH

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    Occupation: Infection Control Professionals
    Setting: Welch Allyn; St. Luke’s Hospital (Smith)
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