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IPSE (Improving Patient Safety in Europe)

The IPSE network was the Dedicated Surveillance Network (DSN) in Europe for the surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) from 2005 to 2008. The scope of the IPSE network was the development of the existing national surveillance initiatives and other approaches for supporting the wider infection control effort in Europe. It consisted of seven work packages covering various areas of HAI surveillance and control. Most of them  continued after the transition of IPSE to ECDC (see IPSE transition diagram).

IPSE was coordinated by the Université Claude Bernard Lyon (UCBL), France; various other centres in Europe were involved in coordination of the work packages. IPSE received funding from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) covering 60% of budget; the remaining 40% were provided by contributions from partners in the network. 

HELICS (Hospitals in Europe for Infection Control through Surveillance)

The HELICS network was the predecessor of the IPSE network and was created in 2000 in the context of Decision 2119/EC as the DG SANCO-funded network for the surveillance of HAI. From 2000 to 2002, HELICS standardised the European methodology for the surveillance of surgical site infections (SSIs) and of nosocomial infections in intensive care units (ICUs).The methodology compiled the most frequently implemented modules for surveillance of HAI in the Member States. From 2003 onwards, the HELICS project collected data from national surveillance networks of HAI according to these agreed methods. In 2003, HELICS also developed a protocol for a point prevalence survey of HAI, however without much adherence in Member States in subsequent years. In 2005, HELICS surveillance became a part of IPSE - as one of its work packages. The HELICS-SSI and HELICS-ICU protocols formed the basis for the current ECDC HAISSI and HAIICU protocols. HAI-Net protocols and more documents are available for national HAI surveillance contact points and experts on the HAI-Net Extranet.


In July 2008, coordination of the European surveillance of HAI was transferred from the IPSE network to ECDC (see diagram). In 2008 and 2009, ECDC continued surveillance of surgical site infections (SSIs) and surveillance of HAI in ICUs following former IPSE/HELICS methods until the full integration of these types of surveillance in ECDC’s TESSy system in October 2010. In addition, the ECDC evaluation of the IPSE network recommended that “The European HAI surveillance needs to cover other types of nosocomial infections besides surgical site infections and ICU-acquired infections in order to estimate and monitor the complete HAI disease burden”.

Following this recommendation, the elaboration of a new European protocol for point prevalence surveys of HAI became an important priority of HAI-Net. In addition, some activities of the former IPSE network were continued through outsourced projects, such as the surveillance of HAI in long-term care facilities (HALT project) and the support to infection control training in Europe (TRICE project). 

IPSE Work packages:

WP1: European training for infection control doctors and nurses in connection with ESCMID

WP2 : European standards and indicators for Public Health surveillance and technical guidelines for the control of HAI & AMR

WP3 : Event warning and rapid exchange on NI & AMR

WP4 : Technical support for sustaining and extending of HELICS surveillance of nosocomial infections and control of HAI & AMR

WP5 : Improving surveillance and controlling antibiotic resistance in ICU

WP6 : Providing complementary tools for the study and control of AMR in ICUs

 WP7 : Feasibility study of surveillance of HAI in European nursing homes


 IPSE transition diagram





View ECDC's IPSE transition diagram

















































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