Surveillance of Infection

What is it?

Surveillance is the active, ongoing observance of the occurrence of infections within the facility.  Surveillance data on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) must be reported to the highest management level on a regular basis. 

The four primary functions of surveillance are

Collection of relative data

Consolidation of collected data

Evaluation of the significance of data

Dissemination of information with a feedback mechanism, e.g., to clinicians, to enable practice and quality improvements


The purpose of infection prevention and control surveillance is to

Provide staff with meaningful data concerning the level of healthcare-associated infection within the facility

Determine baseline information about the frequency and type of HAIs to identify deviations from the baseline rapidly


This information is used by management and the relevant committees to

Determine where further investigation and review may need to be performed

Plan control measures long-term and emergency

Make policy decisions

Evaluate the effects of new control measures or policies

Provide the resident, employees, and visitors with all possible protection from the development of healthcare-associated infections

Provide the means for reviewing and enforcing standards of the program for infection prevention or control in the facility


Surveillance reporting is valuable for

A specific purpose - to gain insight into one particular infection problem in one or more areas where the investigation may need to be performed.

A general purpose - to gain a meaningful picture of infections in the total facility environment.