Healthcare-associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net)

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About the network

The Healthcare-Associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net)  is a European network for the surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (HAI). The network is coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The main priorities of HAI-Net are the coordination of the European point prevalence survey of HAI and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals, the European surveillance of surgical site infections, the European surveillance of HAI in intensive care units and the repeated prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use in European long-term care facilities.

Activities

The activities of HAI-Net are largely based on the activities of the former IPSE (Improving Patient Safety in Europe) network. The coordination of IPSE was transferred to ECDC in July 2008. In addition, HAI-Net provides support to Member States to respond to the Council Recommendation of 9 June 2009 on patient safety, including the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections (2009/C 151/01).

The main priorities of HAI-Net are the coordination of the European point prevalence survey of HAI and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals, the European surveillance of surgical site infections, the European surveillance of HAI in intensive care units and the repeated prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use in European long-term care facilities. 

Disease / public health area

Clostridium difficile infections

The transmission of Clostridium difficile can be patient-to-patient, via contaminated hands of healthcare workers or by environmental contamination.

Disease / public health area

Healthcare-associated infections acquired in intensive care units

In 2014, 6 995 (8%) of patients staying in an intensive care unit (ICU) for more than two days presented with at least one ICU-acquired healthcare-associated infection.

Disease / public health area

Healthcare-associated infections in acute care hospitals

On any given day, about 80 000 patients have at least one healthcare-associated infection, i.e. one in 18 patients in a European hospital.

Disease / public health area

Healthcare-associated infections in long-term care facilities

In Europe, most long-term care facilities are for the elderly: nursing homes, residential homes and mixed facilities. ECDC monitors the burden of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use through repeated point prevalence surveys.

Disease / public health area

Surgical site infections

Surgical site infections are associated with longer post-operative hospital stays, additional surgical procedures, may require intensive care and often result in higher mortality.

Data

Training on infection control in the EU/EEA

tool -

Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) relies on specialised infection prevention and control staff in charge of elaborating, implementing and monitoring local preventive measures such as hand hygiene, patient isolation and HAI surveillance.

Picture of the transition from the network IPSE to ECDC network.

History

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 diagramme to the right). 

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.

Transition of IPSE and HELICS to ECDC healthcare-associated infections surveillance network (HAI-Net)

In July 2008, coordination of the European surveillance of HAI was transferred from the IPSE network to ECDC. 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).