Benefits of seeing an Infectious Disease specialist:
several recent studies have shown that an Infectious Disease doctor’s work is associated not only with improved patient outcomes, but also reduced costs. For example, one review of inpatient Medicare claims data showed that patients seen by ID consultants had lower mortality rates and were less likely to be readmitted when compared to matched controls. This enviable combination of better outcomes for lower costs is often considered the very definition of “value” in health care.
ID physicians create value by pursuing a sensible diagnostic workup and avoiding unnecessary tests. They may encourage the judicious use of antimicrobials, thereby limiting the administration of expensive medications while also preventing the costly harms of antibiotic overuse, such as Clostridium difficile infection. Often an ID consultant’s role is simply to determine that there is no infection present at all, and to stop antibiotics. These functions suggest that, while many physicians are rewarded for doing more, much of an ID consultant’s value may actually derive from doing less.
In addition to preventing the overuse of health care resources, ID physicians generate value by promoting safe and appropriate care for those who truly need it. For example, in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, the involvement of ID physicians has been associated with lower mortality rates, shorter hospital stays, and better adherence to quality measures. Furthermore, when patients are discharged from the hospital to continue intravenous antibiotics at home, ID consultants can take ownership of their parenteral antibiotic therapy and provide reassuring continuity between the inpatient and outpatient settings. In this role ID doctors further help to prevent readmissions and provide high-quality continuous care for high-risk patients.
ID specialists also create value though non-clinical duties, such as directing antimicrobial stewardship and infection control programs. As antimicrobial stewards, they help to limit the costs and harms of antibiotic misuse on an institutional level. And as hospital epidemiologists, they work to track and prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections, protecting not only patients but also health care workers and staff. The rising prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria and the emergence of new pathogens such as Ebola underscore the importance of this work.
**Conditions we treat include skin infections/cellulitis, urinary tract infection, kidney infection, pharyngitis/sore throat, the flu, pink eye, laryngitis, cough, fever, ear infection, bone infection/osteomyelitis, joint infection, discitis, pneumonia, sinus infection, drug/allergic reaction, abdominal infection, Staph infection/MRSA, C. diff, fungal infection, HIV, transplant and/or cancer related illness or infection, travel medicine, antibiotics, and drug resistance.