Abstraction for surveillance purposes is time consuming and can interrupt other duties
required of infection preventionists (IP). While contracted services exist, they come
at a cost and provide little ancillary value to an organization. Thus, we chose to
create a consolidated abstraction service within our healthcare system with the goal
of ensuring quality data through standardized application of National Healthcare Safety
Network (NHSN) definitions and reducing variance through improved connection and collaboration.
The Clinical Data Registry Abstraction (CDRA) program was initiated in January 2020
as a shared service model, with 29 level 1 abstractors and 44 level 2 abstractors,
plus a leadership team. Skill levels varied from no experience to extensive experience
and Certified Infection Control (CIC) certification. The program included an intensive
8-week training program, monthly education seminars, and validation reviews with feedback
for improvement. Communications channels were established for sharing best practices.
The program covers 185 acute care facilities associated other sites of care across
the United States. Abstractors use an electronic surveillance system to review daily
cultures and complete an infection document that is sent to the IP for final review
prior to submission to NHSN.
A survey (59% facility response rate) rated the program 4.13 out of 5 overall. The
domains of responsiveness and knowledge base were rated high, and 81% of respondents
indicated that they received 1 to 3 hours back in their day. Survey comments highlighted
IP retention, increased collaboration, return on investment for facilities, and reduction
of IP workload as benefits. Areas for improvement included improving timeliness, expanding
the scope, further standardization of processes, and increasing opportunities for
In total, the CDRA program is a successful consolidated abstraction service that adds
value to facilities and the organization. Investment in similar programs provides
a valid alternative to contracted abstraction services.