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Quality Measurement Framework

Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI)

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI)

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) represent a failure of quality in the delivery of safe and effective patient care. Reducing HAIs not only positively impacts on patient experience but leads to improvements in both the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care.

The quality outcome indicator selected for healthcare associated infections is the National HAI Point Prevalence Survey.  Unlike regular incidence monitoring (such as for MRSA or Clostridium difficile) which counts the exact number of infections over the course of the year, these surveys provide a snapshot of the number and types of HAIs found in hospitals in the time period in which the survey is carried out. It would not be practical to routinely collect data on every case of every type of HAI; however the Point Prevalence Survey provides a useful overview and the results can be used to describe the overall burden of HAI on health services. Decreases in this measure will be associated with an increase in the quality of healthcare delivery as the burden of infections falls.

Indicator Update

The most recent value of the indicator in acute care was 4.9%, a reduction from a previous survey. Additionally, monitoring of individual infections such as MRSA and CDiff shows reductions.

Source: latest results published April 2012 by Health Protection Scotland

Work that should result in improvement in this indicator

Reductions in HAI are supported by a comprehensive delivery plan co-ordinated by the national HAI Task Force and are a key part of the work of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme.  Some key work areas aimed at reducing HAIs are:

  • hand hygiene
  • hospital cleanliness and decontamination of equipment
  • optimal antimicrobial prescribing
  • developing HAI guidance and education programmes
  • improving surveillance.     

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