What is VICNISS?                      


 
The VICNISS Coordinating Centre was established in 2002 with the aim of reducing the occurrence of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in Victorian healthcare facilities.  This includes any infection associated with any form of healthcare, primarily acquired while in hospital but also during periods of outpatient treatment such as haemodialysis or hospital in the home. Surveillance and associated reporting of the results have been demonstrated to result in reductions of up to 30% of HAIs. 

Patients undergoing medical treatment are at increased risk of contracting an infection for a number of reasons, including:

            • Use of invasive medical equipment e.g. needles and intravenous devices

            • Surgery and other wounds which breach skin integrity

            • Diseases and treatments (e.g. chemotherapy) which suppress the immune system

The major activity of the Coordinating centre is to collate and analyse data and information (surveillance) from hospitals in Victoria.  All Victorian public and private hospitals are required to perform appropriate surveillance for healthcare associated infections and relevant processes.  Aged care facilities currently participate on a voluntary basis.  For more information please see “what is surveillance”                    

Information gleaned from the surveillance is used to identify hospitals with higher than expected infection rates or lower than expected quality measures.  This information is fed back (via the Department of Health & Human Services Victoria’s safety and quality improvement processes) to health service executives who are in a position to address issues of concern and instigate necessary actions.

 

Programs coordinated by VICNISS

 

Reporting
The Coordinating Centre collates the data and provides reports to the Department of Health & Human Services Victoria, as well as to participating hospitals.  These reports are accessible by infection control staff as well as by quality improvement personnel, surgeons, executives and other authorised persons who log into VICNISS via a secure online portal. Participating hospital staff have access to their own hospital data, to aggregated data for the State and in some cases to de-identified data from other hospitals. 

VICNISS Coordinating Centre publishes Annual or Bi-Annual Reports, that can be accessed here which contain data about infection rates for the State of Victoria.  Some data on SAB and CLABSI infection rates provided to VICNISS from individual hospitals is available at the following links: 
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) SAB rates 2018-19
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) SAB rates  2016-17
Victorian Agency for Heath Information (VAHI) 


VICNISS Expertise 
The VICNISS Coordinating Centre, funded by the Department of Health & Human Services Victoria, is
staffed by a multidisciplinary team comprising of infectious disease physicians, senior infection control nurses consultants, epidemiologists/biostatisticians, and information technology (database and applications development) experts.
For further information on staff details click here.


VICNISS staff provide education to hospital staff on infection surveillance and other infection control issues including new and emerging infections. There is also a comprehensive hand hygiene education program in Victoria coordinated by VICNISS.

VICNISS staff construct and modify tools to assist hospitals with reduction of infections (for example checklists to monitor insertion and care of catheters inserted into veins used to administer fluids and medications). VICNISS staff also assist hospitals with infection outbreaks, local education and respond to general enquiries.
To contact VICNISS click here

VICNISS - What we do (pdf)


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