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Frequently Asked Questions

About NHSN


Do I need to purchase new software?

NHSN is an internet application and requires no special software. There is no charge for participation in the NHSN.


Do I need special computer systems?

The following recommended system requirements were developed to ensure the best use of the key features of the NHSN which demand high processor performance, such as Java graphical interface, Internet audio / video streaming, professional 3D graphics, multimedia, data analysis, graphical data visualization.

It is the responsibility of the healthcare facility to choose the specific microcomputer brand and model to purchase.

Minimum System Requirements
  • 1 GHz equivalent or greater Intel Pentium III processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Windows XP – Service Pack 3
  • Email account
  • High-speed internet access (greater than 200Kbs)
  • 500 MB available disk space
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or higher
    NOTE: The only internet browser that can be used with NHSN is Microsoft Internet Explorer. Do not use another browser when accessing NHSN
Additional System Recommendations
  • Computer
    2 GHz processor - Intel Pentium IV, or AMD
    K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
    2GB of RAM
    Sound card
    Speakers or headphones (optional)
    CD-ROM or DVD drive (optional)
    Hard disk 40 GB
  • Monitor
    17" Super VGA (800 X 600) or higher resolution video adapter and monitor
  • Operating System (OS)
    Windows 7 or above
  • Printer
    Laser Printer



Where do we find information on security of the NHSN site and HIPAA information to share with my Information Services department?

Security for the NHSN is provided through the Secure Data Network (SDN). The SDN provides various controls and user authentication as follows:

  • Physical and environmental controls – The computer room that houses NHSN is physically secure and environmental controls are used to protect NHSN computing resources from system damage or failure.
  • Network controls - The SDN is located behind a firewall and is protected by a centralized security gateway (proxy server).
  • User Authentication – All users must authenticate their identities with digital certificates
  • A digital certificate provides an electronic means of proving a person's identity in order to securely conduct business with the NHSN. Digital certificates provide the following benefits:
    • Data being sent to the NHSN is encrypted so that only NHSN can read it
    • Provides assurance to the NHSN that the data has not been changed in transit
    • Verifies that the certificate owner is the individual who actually sent the data.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to the NHSN under the following:

  • CDC is a public health authority authorized by law to receive patient health data.
  • NHSN is a public health activity for which identifiable health data may be shared without an individual patient's authorization.
  • Hospitals disclosing individually identifiable NHSN data must comply with the Privacy Rule’s requirements applicable to all covered entities, including the accounting requirements.
  • For more information about the HIPAA Privacy Rule and how it relates to NHSN, the following resources are available:
  • For more information about HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements, you may review the Guidance from the CDC.




CMS requirements click here for more information

Contact NHSN:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    National Healthcare Safety Network
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • Contact
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays
  • Contact CDC–INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
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