Integrated infection control for primary and secondary care

West Coast District Health Board is tracking patterns of infectious disease outbreaks in both general practice and hospitals through its new ICNet infection control system.

Implemented in April, ICNet can be applied across both primary and secondary care to monitor and assist with real-time management of infections.

West Coast DHB can use the system in both settings as it operates most of the regions general practices and its laboratory is part of the Lab Net Group, which also includes Canterbury, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay laboratories.

Julie Ritchie, West Coast DHB's clinical nurse specialist for infection prevention and control, said the software has replaced a previous paper-based system that was far less efficient.

“There is a big push on about antibiotic overuse,” Ms Ritchie said. “This system would pick something up as soon as the lab result was out, identifying antimicrobial resistance organisms such as MRSA.”

The software automates the collection of laboratory results, surgical and patient admission details into a browser-based display.

If a patient is carrying MRSA, a notification is added to ICNet and Ms Ritchie then contacts the health professionals dealing with the patient.

Advantages of using the system include significant time savings for infection control teams, increased patient contact, a reduction in ward outbreaks, increased education at the ward level and quicker interventions preventing relapses and cross infection.

West Coast and Canterbury DHBs hospital support and laboratories general manager Trevor English said the West Coast experience was very important for DHBs around the country.

“Infections are really one of the most serious risks to both patients and the health system worldwide,” Mr English said.

“A system like this that greatly improves our ability to track and manage infections from a patient’s first visit to a doctor for tests through to their stay in hospital is going to be hugely beneficial for our patients.”

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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