July 16, 2013
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Registries helped track resistant infections in health care facilities

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Regional patient registries may be useful in tracking the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections between health care facilities, researchers reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

According to the researchers, most studies on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci derive from single institutions, but interfacility spread within specific regions is gaining recognition.

“Antibiotic resistance is a regional problem,” Abel Kho, MD, MS, assistant professor at Northwestern University, and affiliated scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, told Infectious Disease News. “To address this, sharing infection data can enable coordinated regional infection control efforts.”

Abel Kho, MD 

Abel Kho

Kho and colleagues developed an antimicrobial-resistance registry and tracking system to register all MRSA and VRE cases and determine when the patients were admitted to any regional health care facility. The registry was embedded within a regional health information exchange, which included 17 hospitals and associated clinics in the Indianapolis, Ind., region. From June 2007 to June 2010, email alerts were sent to infection preventionists at hospitals where a patient previously reported as infected or colonized with MRSA or VRE were admitted to a study hospital.

During the 3-year timeframe, there were 12,748 email alerts sent regarding 6,270 unique patients. Among 23% of the admissions with a history of MRSA, and 22% of admissions with VRE, the infection had been identified at a different hospital in the system. The admissions occurred an average of 135 days after the patient was identified as having MRSA or VRE, and 60% of all alerts occurred within 365 days after the data were first entered into the registry.

All of the 10 infection preventionists surveyed found the alerts useful. They also reported a burden of approximately five alerts per day, of which 55% pertained to cases of which they were already aware.

“The extent of crossover of infected patients between institutions was higher than we found previously,” Kho said. “I hope these data encourage other communities to share key infection data on patients to optimize infection control efforts.”

Kho said that their system was recently expanded to track multidrug-resistant gram negative organisms.

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.