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Supporting infection prevention and control with analytics

Supporting infection prevention and control with analytics

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We analysed data and provided insight which informed a national programme for improving infection prevention and control about where to focus support to reduce infection levels.

Background

Following the global pandemic of COVID-19, NHS England and Improvement required analytical support for their infection prevention  and control (IPC) safety support programme. The aim was to support providers in improving infection prevention control mechanisms not just relating to COVID-19 but to include all Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs).

Action

Support was agreed for eligible trusts struggling with high levels of HCAIs.

NHS Midlands and Lancashire (NHS ML) provided reporting and analytical support and programme management support. Nationally published and local trust data were used to understand where there may be outliers. Analysis included assessing rates of infection, addressing unwarranted variations and ensuring effective management of local outbreaks to minimise the spread of infections.

A dashboard was created using the Power BI reporting tool to provide evidence and identify key issues and challenges using various data visualisations. Overall there was an emphasis on leadership, safety culture, clinical engagement, governance, continuous improvement and capacity and capability of the IPC team. The dashboard gave insightful information on capacity, capability and ongoing improvements in areas such as staffing levels, levels of infection rates, bed occupancy rates and mortality rates.

Impact

This innovative piece of work has informed the programme about where to focus support to reduce HCAI levels.

In some trusts, as COVID-19 levels took precedence, non-COVID HCAIs steadily rose too. Additional analysis was requested to understand rates of MRSA, MSSA, E.coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella species.

The data analysis provided via the dashboard enabled a deep dive into areas of concern. With this evidence, trusts were able to make the necessary improvements across areas such as:

  • Workforce activity levels
  • Provision and use of personal protective equipment
  • Awareness and training in infection control procedures
  • Isolation bed capacity.

The dashboard also confirmed a point at which safety support was no longer needed by trusts. This followed a period of sustained improvement rates of HCAIs and  COVID-19 infections and timely identification, management and resolution of any infection outbreaks.

The dashboard data enabled the programme to review potential hotspots and resource availability with national concern.  

“The demand for data analysis was pressing. Dipika Patel [Senior Analyst at NHS ML] managed to navigate through new ways of working, with individuals who were new in post and a team that was initiated during and in answer to a pandemic. She not only met the brief but went way and beyond the ask. Her ability to showcase her analytical mind was wonderful and enabled a clear picture of IPC concern at organisational, regional and national level.”

Annemarie Vicary, Programme Director, NHS England and Improvement

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