Healthcare associated infections and surveillance

Healthcare associated infections

HAIs occur as a result of healthcare interventions. Prevention of HAIs is at the heart of patient safety and is the responsibility not just of infection prevention and control professionals, but of all who provide care to patients or make decisions about healthcare systems. It is increasingly recognised that many HAIs are preventable adverse events rather than an inevitable complication of medical care.  The impact of HAIs ranges from mild to devastating. They cause patients pain and suffering, prolong hospital stays and can cause significant morbidity and mortality. They also utilise significant human and financial resources for healthcare facilities.


In 2005 the Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance Western Australia (HISWA) was established as a voluntary program for both private and public healthcare facilities. In 2007, the Director General mandated the collection of key HAIs for all public hospitals and those private facilities contracted to provide care to public patients.
The HISWA program is managed by the Infection Prevention, Policy & Surveillance Unit (IPPSU) within the Public & Aboriginal Health Division of WA Health.

Validation of data

HISWA serves to enhance the value of surveillance by providing high quality comparative data. For comparisons to be valid the data collection methods used by participating hospitals must be similar and definitions of infection consistently applied. Participation in HISWA requires active, prospective surveillance which is patient-based.

Report provision

The IPPSU currently hosts a number or reports, including the most recent annual report, the four most recent quarterly aggregate reports and the most recent WA MRSA epidemiology and Typing report.

Tools and resources provision

Last reviewed: 23-06-2022
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Public Health