Creation of a Novel Approach to Surveillance Through a Consolidated Abstraction Service

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      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 shared learning.


      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.
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