OHSN injury tracker makes its debut
Hospitals sign on to user-friendly site
Injury surveillance in hospitals took a leap forward this summer with the launch of the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN), a new online program created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
For the first time, hospitals can track injuries in a standardized way, compare their rates with hospitals of a similar size or in their region, and easily locate successful strategies. OHSN modules cover patient handling, workplace violence and slips, trips and falls. NIOSH plans to add a module on bloodborne pathogen exposures. (The OHSN is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ohsn/enrollment.html.)
Some 84 hospitals participated in the pilot testing, and another 10 hospitals signed up in the first couple of weeks of enrollment, making OHSN larger than previous voluntary surveillance systems that collected needlestick exposure data.
NIOSH is promoting the system at conferences, such as the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP). "The more [facilities] we have participating, the more representative of the nation we will be," says Ahmed Gomaa, MD, ScD, MSPH, medical officer in NIOSH’s Surveillance Branch in Cincinnati. "Our goal is to recruit as many hospitals as we can."
One advantage of OHSN is ease of use. The system can accept data in a few different formats, including a simple Excel spreadsheet. NIOSH is also working with vendors of occupational health software to create a seamless way to transmit data.
Hospitals can use the system to track their own injury rates, and they can get real-time information about how hospitals of a similar size are performing. They can implement an intervention, and then follow their injury trends to determine the outcome. "We’re giving them the analysis capability over the Internet," says Gomaa.
Hospitals will be able to communicate and share information through OHSN. "They can learn from other people," Gomaa says. "They don’t have to do their own investigation to find out what’s working and what’s not working."
OHSN can accept data from facilities that have an American Hospital Association identification number. That includes hospital systems as well as hospital-based long-term care facilities, ambulatory care centers, and other related facilities.
The AHA number enables OHSN to access denominator data, such as the number of beds, the number of admissions, and the number of fulltime equivalent employees.
NIOSH seeks to make OHSN easy to use, but for anyone who needs help, the system coordinators will provide individual assistance. "Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible," says Susan Sprigg, RN, BSN, a public health analyst with OHSN.