Healthcare associated infection surveillance

Healthcare associated infection (HAI) is a patient safety and quality of healthcare issue which contributes to poor patient outcomes and additional costs to the health care system. Surveillance to determine the incidence of HAI is an important part of the strategy to minimise the occurrence of these infections.

SA Health HAI surveillance program

SA Health's Infection Control Service (ICS) coordinates the collection of surveillance data from both public and private SA hospitals for several healthcare associated infections using standard definitions.  


Contributing hospitals provide data collected according to standard definitions (see below). Data is quality controlled and converted into rates of infection per 10,000 days of hospital care. Aggregate rates are calculated for the state and risk adjusted according to the type of hospital (size and patient acuity). Data are reported back to the local health networks on a regular basis for the purposes of quality improvement monitoring.

Surveillance definitions

Surveillance in small hospitals

Due to the infrequency of HAI in smaller healthcare facilities it is recommended that the signal infection surveillance program developed by Queensland Health is undertaken.  This program involves the investigation of each HAI occurrence as an individual "signal" event that requires follow-up and determination of contributing factors.  The investigations are designed to identify any preventable factors and potential actions that can be taken to prevent such events occurring in the future.

Surveillance reports

Contributors to the SA Health surveillance program are provided with individual reports on a monthly basis which compare the hospital's rates of infection with the statewide average for the particular indicator.

Annual surveillance reports with detailed epidemiological analysis of aggregated and de-identified data are produced and can be accessed in the health statistics section.

Further information

For further information on the SA Health surveillance program, contact SA Health's Infection Control Service.

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