10 New Zealand hospitals now linked to ICNET infection surveillance software to strength COVID-19 contact tracing
Real time infection prevention and control system strengthens the management of COVID-19.
Canterbury District Health Board, enabled by state-of-the-art digital software developed by Baxter Healthcare (Baxter) and with support from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is supporting DHBs to use that software for infection surveillance and intelligence – detecting, tracing and advising on infections such as COVID-19.
Canterbury DHB has been using the ICNET clinical surveillance platform since 2012 – long before the current pandemic.
Susan Wood, Director Quality and Patient Safety for both Canterbury DHB and the West Coast DHB says that as the launch site for ICNET on the South Island, Canterbury DHB has worked with the ACC and Baxter over the past two years to support uptake of the platform to provide other DHB Infection Prevention Teams with real time surveillance designed to prevent, detect, and advise on infection in communities, hospitals and other DHB facilities.
ICNET clinical surveillance and management software serves as a frontline flag in hospital infection surveillance and business intelligence for the organisation. It is essential to early detection of outbreaks such as Norovirus, a common and very unpleasant gastro infection.
In March this year, Baxter Healthcare developed new functionality for the national ICNET system to support hospitals with handling COVID-19 surveillance. This has advanced the use of the ICNET platform, putting it on the frontline of New Zealand’s COVID-19 hospital services surveillance and real time response.
“Although our initial requirement was for software that would enable us to track and prevent ‘everyday’ hospital-acquired infections, we have always been mindful since H1N1 flu hit in 2009, that we would need to be able to capture real-time information in another pandemic,” Ms Wood says.
“Our partnership with ACC and Baxter has been crucial in enabling us to develop an expansion programme to build hospital infection prevention surveillance capability in New Zealand.”
Ten hospitals across New Zealand are now linked in to the ICNET database with new COVID-19 functionality launched in March, to create a coherent response to detect, manage and trace COVID-19 cases across the national hospital network, including the hotel quarantine network.
Here’s what some other users from across the New Zealand health system had to say about their experience of ICNET:
Lakes DHB Clinical Nurse Specialist, Waverley Brinkler, says that since its implementation in late 2019, ICNET has revolutionised the way clinicians at her DHB access, store and can analyse laboratory and patient data in a systematic way.
“Clusters or outbreaks can be recognised quickly, by identifying groups of organisms in similar locations, again enabling interventions to be implemented as soon as possible,” Ms Brinkler says.
“The system also enables organisms of concern to be viewed and assessed against definitions to identify hospital acquired infections and reporting this back to clinicians for review and quality improvement.
“ICNET was very useful during COVID-19 as it created a list of COVID-19 test results by location, which alerted us to any positive results and enabled us to measure whether we were reaching our local testing targets.”
Racquel Lewis, Infection Prevention and Control Advisor at Hawkes Bay DHB recalls that ICNET was “turned on” during the COVID-19 response at her DHB. “ICNET has provided a very useful tool for real-time reporting of cases,” Ms Lewis says. “It’s been fantastic for the hospital space and the Public Heath team, as well as our Occupational Health team for surveillance and swabs.”
Steven Flynn, General Manager - Baxter Australia and New Zealand, said identifying and tracing had become a frontline defence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Baxter is proud to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontline of this pandemic with ICNET digital innovation to help detect, manage and prevent infections in the hospital and the community,” Mr Flynn says.
“New Zealand is one of the first countries globally to rapidly deploy COVID-19 functionality to the ICNET network.
“The centralised tracing system of ICNET supports hospitals and national health systems in their COVID-19 response with data-driven analytics and real-time infection management. It replaces traditional methods for managing infections including spreadsheets and time-consuming paperwork and supports hospitals and district health networks in reducing the costs associated with infection outbreaks.”