Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance in Western Australia Policy

Applicable to: Health Service Providers

This policy describes the Healthcare Infection Surveillance Western Australia (HISWA) program to monitor healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in Western Australia (WA) and sets the mandatory HAI surveillance and reporting requirements for WA public hospitals.

Infections resulting from the provision of healthcare are one of the most common causes of unintended harm suffered by health consumers. They can cause patients’ pain and suffering, often result in readmissions, re-operations and antibiotic use, prolong hospital admissions and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. As such, HAIs lead to the utilisation of significant human and financial resources and can be associated with adverse publicity and litigation.

It is increasingly recognised that many HAIs are preventable adverse events rather than an inevitable complication of medical care. Reliable surveillance data underpin all quality improvement processes. Undertaking HAI surveillance is an essential component of effective infection prevention and allows for evaluation of prevention programs, thereby improving patient outcomes.

The HISWA HAI indicators have been developed to enable some standardised surveillance of HAIs across the WA health system. These indicators are based on definitions that have been adopted both nationally and internationally, to support comparability of data. Further, they have been selected by a process of review and consultation and are applicable to a variety of healthcare settings within WA. The indicators incorporate the requirements under the Commonwealth Healthcare Agreement that all Australian jurisdictions perform surveillance of healthcare associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection and hospital-identified Clostridium difficile.

Data reported for healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection and surgical site infection following primary hip and knee arthroplasty indicators are also used to contribute to the Health Service Performance Reporting (HSPR) function for the Department of Health WA.

This Policy is a mandatory requirement under the Public Health Policy Framework pursuant to section 26(2)(c) of the Health Services Act 2016.

This Policy supersedes Operational Directive OD 0527/14 Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance in Western Australian Healthcare Facilities.

Date of effect: 10 June 2019

Policy Framework

Supporting information