Hospital-acquired infections represent a significant cause of prolonged inpatient days and additional hospital charges. We describe an expert system, called GERMWATCHER, which applies the Centers for Disease Control's National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance culture-based criteria for detecting nosocomial infections. GERMWATCHER has been deployed at Barnes Hospital, a large tertiary-care teaching hospital, since February 1993. We describe the Barnes Hospital infection control environment, the expert system design, and a predeployment performance evaluation. We then compare our system to other efforts in computer-based infection control.


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