Preventing healthcare-associated infections: the role of surveillance
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Preventing healthcare-associated infections: the role of surveillance

Brett G Mitchell Associate professor of nursing, Avondale College for Higher Education, Wahroonga, Australia, Australian Catholic University, Dickson, Australia
Philip L Russo PhD scholar, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is central to healthcare epidemiology and infection control programmes and a critical factor in the prevention of these infections. By definition, the term ‘infection prevention’ implies that healthcare-associated infections may be preventable. The purpose of surveillance is to provide quality data that can be used in an effective monitoring and alert system and to reduce the incidence of preventable healthcare-associated infections. This article examines the purpose of surveillance, explains key epidemiological terms, provides an overview of approaches to surveillance and discusses the importance of validation.

Nursing Standard. 29, 23, 52-58. doi: 10.7748/ns.29.23.52.e9609

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 14 September 2014

Accepted: 12 November 2014