Over 36 million patients are hospitalized each year in the U.S. with the expectation of safe medical care. Nevertheless, healthcare-associated infections are a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, and numerous hospital outbreaks are reported each year. The Joint Commission requires hospital infection prevention programs to perform outbreak detection. However, there are no standardized, validated outbreak detection methods or response strategies.

Ideally, outbreak detection should be swift in both signaling and response to prevent as many transmissible events as possible. The CLUSTER study will include a prospective pilot study involving four of the CDC Prevention Epicenter-funded academic centers to assess the feasibility of implementing the WHONET-SaTScan outbreak detection system and to establish a standardized outbreak response protocol The WHONET-SaTScan system integrates WHONET, a software developed to support microbiology surveillance activities in hospitals, and SaTScan a statistical software that analyzes spatial, temporal and space-time data.  The results of this pilot study will be used to optimize study design for a follow-up study involving additional hospitals within the Hospital Corporation of America healthcare system. Whole genome sequencing will be performed on all available bacterial and fungal isolates identified by WHONET-SaTScan and on select isolates found with current detection methods to compare the accuracy of the detection system vs current methods

Principal Investigators: Meghan Baker, MD,ScD, Richard Platt, MD, MSc

Funder: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention