The Value of Infectious Diseases Specialists: Non-Patient Care Activities

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Recent developments in health care have focused efforts on both the national and local levels to reduce unnecessary health care costs and the number of hospital stays while increasing the quality of care, particularly in the context of hospital-associated infections. Infectious diseases specialists who contract to oversee infection-control and antibiotic-stewardship programs are uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in helping hospitals to prosper in this new environment. This article will detail the available data supporting the value of infectious diseases specialists in their roles of directing antimicrobial-management and infection-control programs, maintaining health care workers' well-being, and minimizing exposure. The evidence in support of the influence of infectious diseases specialists to achieve cost-savings, decrease the length of hospital stays, and improve outcomes is robust and can be used as the framework for negotiating appropriate compensation from hospital management for these activities. Presenting this information in an amicable but definitive framework may be the linchpin to the overall success of the movement to improve quality of care while minimizing hospital costs and antimicrobial use. Developing this ability is critical to infectious diseases specialists' success as they redefine their role in the quality-of-care and risk-management arenas.

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