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October 2008
Vol. 18 No. 10
Top Stories
ID Specialists Have New Negotiating Tool
Diana Olson

As emphasis on quality of care grows and reimbursement for hospital-associated infections declines, infectious diseases specialists have a growing opportunity to demonstrate their value as practitioners of infection control.  A new tool can help you justify your value and make your case effectively in negotiations with your hospital administration.

In “The Value of Infectious Diseases Specialists: Non-Patient Care Activities,” published in the October 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Daniel P. McQuillen, MD, and colleagues from IDSA’s Clinical Affairs Committee have compiled the data supporting the importance of ID specialists in critical areas such as antimicrobial stewardship, infection control, and preventing and managing outbreaks among health care workers. The manuscript aims to help ID specialist successfully articulate their role in the quality-of-care and risk-management arenas.

In one study of a 174-bed community hospital, for example, a concurrent review program initiated by an ID specialist achieved $250,000 in annual cost savings while simultaneously reducing the prevalence of nosocomial infection due to Clostridium difficile and drug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Other studies have shown that ID consultations can improve care, outcomes, and costs for patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and other infections. These studies are cited in helpful, easy-to-use charts in the McQuillen manuscript.

The manuscript also includes sections on how to put the data to use in your negotiations and how to use words and phrases that are helpful in making your case. The authors point out that phrases such as, “I’m sure we are both concerned with the rising costs of antibiotic use for conditions such as ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line-related sepsis” are more likely to invite agreement and discussion, compared to a negative statement such as, “You must have been aware of this need for years.”
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