Private hospital group, Netcare, has rolled out a multi-hospital system, called Bluebird, across 47 of its hospitals to mitigate infection risks.

Netcare implemented the Bluebird software, which was developed by Intelligent Medical Systems, to monitor infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship interventions across its 47 hospitals following a successful pilot project conducted in 2012.

Hospital acquired infections are one of the top risks faced by healthcare systems worldwide. This global problem is particularly of concern when viewed against the backdrop of the growing resistance of microbial infections to antibiotic treatment.

According to Netcare, its antibiotic stewardship programme achieved an 18% reduction in antibiotic use by in-hospital patients and demonstrated that a meaningful reduction in antibiotic usage can be achieved through a number of basic interventions.

This stewardship programme involves antibiotic prescriptions for every patient’s specific diagnosis being reviewed by a pharmacist either at the patient’s bedside or within the dispensary for accuracy and suitability.

“It is critical that hospitals are vigilant and able to identify any potential infection risks, as well as to respond rapidly to ensure that these are quickly combated. This has become even more important in recent years with the development of more treatment-resistant forms of microbes, the so-called ‘superbugs’,” said Netcare’s Director of Quality Leadership, Dr Dena van den Bergh.

The system integrates laboratory data with Netcare’s patient master data and antibiotic prescription data to enable quick identification of infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship opportunities, which are flagged as alerts.

The results of the programme were highlighted in a research paper recently published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases on behalf of the Netcare multi-disciplinary antimicrobial stewardship teams.

Following the pilot programme, an additional antibiotic stewardship phase was adapted for the Netcare hospital setting and introduced to extend the implementation of further coordinated interventions designed to improve and measure the appropriate use of antibiotics.

“The timeous availability of information has enabled Netcare hospitals to firmly establish infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship as a management priority for the hospital leadership teams,” said Managing Director of Netcare’s Hospital division, Jacques du Plessis.

“It has also assisted us greatly in creating a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care and has proved to be an important enabling tool eliminating delays previously experienced in the access of vital information,” continued du Plessis.

“The rollout has been a significant success within Netcare and we look forward to exploring how this technology can further strengthen our programmes and positively impact patient care and outcomes,” concluded Dr Van Den Bergh.

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