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Healthcare Infection
  Official Journal of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control
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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 12(1)

New control chart methods for monitoring MROs in Hospitals

Anthony Morton, Michelle Gatton, Edward Tong and Archie Clements

Australian Infection Control 12(1) 14 - 18
Published: 2007


Routine surveillance of colonisations with multiple antibiotic resistant organisms (MROs) is now widespread and these data are increasingly summarised in control charts. The purpose of their analysis in this manner is to provide early warning of outbreaks or to judge the response to system changes designed to reduce colonisation rates. Conventional statistical process control (SPC) charts assume independence of observations. In addition, there needs to be a run of stable, non-trended (stationary) data values to obtain accurate control limits.Colonisation with an MRO is not an independent event as it must involve transmission from a carrier and this can lead to excessive variation. In addition, non-linear trends are often present and MRO prevalence data display temporal correlation. The latter occurs when data at particular times are more like data at related, usually contiguous times, than data from more distant times; thus they are not temporally independent. These characteristics make it difficult to implement conventional SPC charts with MRO data. To overcome these problems, we suggest the use of generalised additive models (GAMs) when there is no temporal correlation, as with new colonisations, and generalised additive mixed models (GAMMs) when temporal correlation is present; as occurs commonly with prevalence data. We illustrate their use with multi-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (mMRSA) prevalence and new colonisation data. These methods are able to deal with excess variability, trends and temporal correlation. They are easily implemented in the freely available R software package.Our analysis demonstrates an upward non-linear trend in mMRSA prevalence between January 2004 and October 2006. The mMRSA new colonisation data also display an upward trend between September 2005 and May 2006. Monthly new colonisation rates exceeded the upper control limit in April 2005 and equalled it in May 2006. There was a modest downward trend in the new colonisation rate in the latter part of 2006.

Full text doi:10.1071/HI07014

© Australian Infection Control Association 2007

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