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. 

The VICNISS Coordinating Centre is funded by the Department of Health & Human Services Victoria.  

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 hospitals are required to perform appropriate surveillance; private hospitals participate on a voluntary basis, but private hospital participation is gradually increasing. 

For more information please see “what is surveillance” https://www.vicniss.org.au/about/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’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 include:

     The Coordinating Centre collates the data and provides reports to the Department, 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.

The VICNISS Coordinating Centre is staffed by a multidisciplinary team comprising of infection control consultants, epidemiologists, infectious diseases physicians, and information technology experts. For further information on staff details click here.

VICNISS Coordinating Centre publishes Annual or Bi-Annual Reports, that can be accessed here https://www.vicniss.org.au/publications/annual-reports/ 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: 

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/australian-hospital-statistics-2015-16-sab/contents/table-of-contents

http://performance.health.vic.gov.au/