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Public reporting of health care-associated infection data in Australia: time to refine

National health care-associated infection indicators require validation, stakeholder input and risk adjustment to reflect quality improvement adequately

In December 2011, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) launched the MyHospitals website, allowing national reporting of safety and quality indices for Australian hospitals, including health care-associated infection (HAI) indicators.1 Unlike approaches taken in the United States and United Kingdom, public reporting initiatives have lagged in Australia, with challenges being identified in the design and implementation of reporting strategies.2 Specific avenues for improving HAI indicators are now emerging.

The MyHospitals website contains data reported by individual hospitals.1 While all public hospitals submit data, participation by private hospitals is voluntary. Safety and quality indicators include compliance with hand-hygiene practices and rates of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB). Each is compared with a national benchmark — greater than 70% compliance for hand hygiene, and less than 2 days per 10 000 days of patient care for SAB events.