Nationwide network intensifies fight against hospital infections

Alerts-Net "develops reporting system for Thuringia / hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and laboratories collect data

Prof. Dr. Frank Brunkhorst, Jena University Hospital. Jena 2015 (ukj / dre).

A joint network of clinics, rehabilitation facilities and microbiological laboratories in Thuringia is intensifying the fight against hospital infections. Within the framework of AlertsNet, for the first time in Germany in one federal state, the data of patients were brought together nationwide in which disease-causing germs were detected in the blood. In a second step, the network partners will then specifically expand steps for sustainable infection prevention and improved diagnostics and then review them. The network is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Health with nearly 450,000 euros by 2015, followed by funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2020 with more than 800,000 euros.

"Through the joint network, we can now develop a Thuringian-wide reporting system for bloodstream infections, ie for the actually detected infections based on the analyzed blood culture samples. This will for the first time provide an overview of all bloodstream infections in Thuringia. In accordance with the requirements of the Thuringian Hygiene Regulation, we can specifically identify patient groups and then align the additional preventive and diagnostic efforts, thereby reducing the number of infections in the long term, as well as antibiotic resistance, "explains Prof. Dr. med. Frank Brunkhorst from the University Hospital Jena (UKJ). Brunkhorst leads the Paul Martini Research Unit on Clinical Sepsis Research at the UKJ, which coordinates the network.

The participation in the network is voluntary: "We are all the more pleased that so far 22 clinics as well as 14 rehab facilities and 14 microbiological laboratories participate in the network," says Prof. Brunkhorst. He is confident that the network continues to grow. The sepsis expert also manages the "Alerts" study at the University Hospital Jena, which has been running since 2011. In the coming years, about 75,000 patients of the University of Jena will be registered and systematically examined for hospital infections. The study includes comprehensive training on infection prevention and evaluation of the effectiveness of these measures. Brunkhorst: "This approach will now be extended to the whole of Thuringia with the launched AlertsNet."

In the network that has now been started, data from the blood culture samples of patients suffering from a bloodstream infection (sepsis) are continuously recorded. These data are combined and analyzed comprehensively. The advantage: "For the first time in Germany representative data will be determined for the patients in one federal state, which will give exact information about the type of infection, e.g. which germ triggered the infection and the extent of antibiotic resistance in Thuringia currently has. In addition, the type of antibiotic therapy used is recorded. Of course, the applicable data protection regulations are taken into account, "emphasizes Brunkhorst.

AlertsNet already received a great deal of attention during the kick-off event of the research focus "Antibiotic Resistance, Hygiene and Nosocomial Infections" of the Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin, especially with regard to the expected comprehensive database of the survey.

Seal of approval planned

The big difference with other networks in the fight against hospital infections lies in the fact that the reported data are bundled on the basis of past illnesses, not on the basis of a proof of colonization by means of a screening. Dr. Roland Schmitz from the Paul Martini Research Unit for Clinical Sepsis Research at the UKJ and project coordinator explains: "Our goal is to involve as many as possible of all inpatient facilities in Thuringia, i.e. clinics and rehabilitation facilities, in the network. Because infectious agents such. Multi-resistant faecal bacteria (ESBL), MRSA or other germs are a danger to all patients, no matter where they are for treatment. And of course, patients are moved from one institution to another. That is why such a network is important and also offers the opportunity to learn from each other. And since there is a uniform methodology for the recording, reliable comparisons are possible and the targeted use of improvement measures."

This year, data collection will start. The long-term goal is also to establish a "seal of quality" for the institutions that actively participate in the network. Prof. Brunkhorst: "Today's patients rightly ask what strategies to prevent infection in a facility are being pursued. By working together in a network, we can further expand this required transparency and, of course, make an important contribution to the quality of patient care in accordance with the Thuringian Hygiene Regulation. "


Foto © Wolfgang Hanke