What is NHSN?
CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network is the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection (HAI) tracking system. NHSN provides facilities, states, regions, and the nation with data needed to identify problem areas, measure progress of prevention efforts, and ultimately eliminate healthcare-associated infections.
In addition, NHSN allows healthcare facilities to track blood safety errors and important healthcare process measures such as healthcare personnel influenza vaccine status and infection control adherence rates.
NHSN provides medical facilities, states, regions, and the nation with data collection and reporting capabilities needed to:
- identify infection prevention problems by facility, state, or specific quality improvement project
- benchmark progress of infection prevention efforts
- comply with state and federal public reporting mandates, and ultimately,
- drive national progress toward elimination of HAIs.
Beginning decades ago with 300 hospitals, NHSN now serves more than 11,000 medical facilities tracking HAIs. Current participants include acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient dialysis centers, ambulatory surgery centers, and nursing homes, with hospitals and dialysis facilities representing the majority of facilities reporting data. Participation among the other facility types is expected to continue to grow in coming years.
For Medical Facilities
While ensuring data security, integrity, and confidentiality, NHSN gives healthcare facilities the ability to see their data in real-time and share that information with clinicians and facility leadership, as well as with other facilities (e.g., a multihospital system) and partners such as health departments or quality improvement organizations. CDC provides the standard national measures for HAIs as well as analytic tools that enable each facility to assess its progress and identify where additional efforts are needed. In addition, NHSN is the conduit for facilities to comply with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) infection reporting requirements.
In addition to benefiting from increased attention to HAI prevention, patients can use NHSN data posted publicly on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Compare website. Patients are encouraged to visit the website to see how their local facilities are doing and discuss concerns with their healthcare providers.
For States and for the Nation
NHSN data are analyzed by CDC and others to direct actions for HAI prevention. Local, state, and national HAI trends are used to identify emerging problems and areas of concern that need intervention, and to measure progress in HAI reduction against national, state, and local prevention goals.
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