Automated Surveillance of C. difficile Infections Proves Highly Sensitive and Specific

April 11, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Using automated surveillance is a feasible and reliable way to track Clostridium difficile infections, according to the results of a study published in the March 2012 Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The study population included all adult patients 18 years of age or older who were admitted to one of four U.S. hospitals that participated in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Prevention Epicenters Program from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. The researchers created a conceptual, automated C. difficile infection surveillance algorithm by using recommended surveillance definitions, and then each facility worked with its medical informatics departments to apply the algorithm to its local databases. To determine the strength of the algorithm, its C. difficile infection case categorizations were compared to categorizations previously determined by chart review. The analysis indicated that electronic surveillance was highly sensitive and specific, with overall good to excellent agreement for hospital-onset; community-onset, study facility-associated; indeterminate; and recurrent *C.

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