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Secrets of the Microbiology Lab: How What They Do Directly Affects What You Report

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      Background

      Infection preventionists rely upon the information provided by the clinical microbiology laboratory to determine whether or not an infection should be reported. However, few infection preventionists understand or are aware of what procedures, policies, and behavior occur within the microbiology laboratory that directly influences the patient data that they use for their surveillance reporting as well as their infection prevention response. This presentation will teach infection preventionists the often unknown processes performed by the microbiology laboratory and its direct impact on their reporting to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and their institution's internal data.

      Methods

      This study will systematically address the common policies and procedures performed related to the collection, transport, and diagnostic reporting of patient specimens that influence surveillance reporting criteria of multidrug-resistant organisms and Clostridioides difficile Infection (MDRO/CDI), urinary tract infection (catheter-associated and non-catheter-associated), central line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), and surgical site infection (SSI) to NHSN.

      Results

      Accepted policies, procedures, and processes vary widely across clinical microbiology laboratories. Infection preventionists need to be aware of how these differences can lead to potential errors in their reporting and the true burden of infection within their institution. Without understanding the basics of how the clinical laboratory information is resulted, it is impossible to guarantee accurate reporting to NHSN and appropriate infection prevention response.

      Conclusions

      It is the goal of this presentation to equip infection preventionists with the knowledge of what may occur within their own institution's microbiology laboratory and provide guidance on how to collaborate with their laboratory colleagues to ensure that what they report to NHSN is transparent and accurate. The information provided in this presentation should ultimately lead to a more impactful infection prevention program.
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