ABSTRACT: At the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, an interface was developed between the microbiology laboratory computer system and the HELP integrated central hospital computer system. The HELP system includes medical information from most clinical care support areas. The microbiology data are translated from the laboratory computer file structure to a hierarchical data structure on the HELP system. A knowledge base was created with the help of infectious disease experts, and became part of a Computerized Infectious Disease Monitoring system (CIDM). The knowledge base is automatically activated when specific microbiology data are entered into a patient's computer file (data driven), thus decisions are made automatically with no additional effort required of medical personnel. The CIDM was designed to inform infectious disease personnel when a patient has one of the following conditions: (1) a hospital-acquired infection, (2) an infection at a normally sterile body site, (3) an infection due to a bacteria with an unusual antibiotic sensitivity pattern, (4) an infection for which the patient is not receiving an antibiotic to which the offending bacteria is sensitive, (5) an infection that could be treated with a less expensive antibiotic, (6) an infection which is required by law to be reported to state and national health authorities, and (7) those patients receiving prophylactic antibiotics longer than is medically indicated. All of the microbiology data are now extensively reviewed by nurses and physicians from terminals at nursing stations or intensive care units. The CIDM is currently being used for hospital-acquired infection surveillance at LDS Hospital.
Computers and Biomedical Research.