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Offsite Interpretive Reading Providers - Applicability of Infection Control Standards

How do the IC standards apply to interpretive reading providers? We have no contact with patients or specimens-what do we need to do?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

The focus of the IC standards is prevention of transmission of infectious disease. If no patient or specimen contact occurs, no transmission is possible. While a risk assessment would not be required, if performed it would reveal no risk at all. As such, no surveillance or reporting would be required, even for staff.

If the organization receives back contaminated equipment, then all IC standards apply.

Please note, however, that interpretive reading services do play a critical role in disease detection and communication. Under IC.02.01.01 EPs 8-11, these services bear the responsibility for notification of infectious disease-related results, especially those for which the differential diagnosis might necessitate isolation or public health action. Examples would be a radiology study showing a right upper lobe cavity lesion (suspicious for pulmonary tuberculosis), or mediastinal widening (suspicious for inhalation anthrax). Pathology studies would include those that identify pathogens considered reportable to a public health authority.

Therefore, interpretive reading providers must have clearly defined processes for communication of such results. An agreement should be in place with each organization for which services are provided. It should specify which results are to be communicated urgently, whom should be notified, and in what time frame. It is expected that many organizations will choose to have their infection control practitioner notified in addition to the provider who orders the test.

Employee health programs (see IC.02.03.01) may or may not be required. If your organization determines that one is not needed, please check with your state's health department or healthcare licensing act, which may have further regulations.

In conclusion, Teleradiology services will only be evaluated for compliance with IC.02.01.01 EPs 8-11, as delineated above. They are encouraged, but not required, to incorporate practices for hand hygiene (please see NPSG.07.01.01). IC.02.03.01 may or may not be applicable, as stated above.
Last updated on April 28, 2021
Manual: Critical Access Hospital
Chapter: Infection Prevention and Control IC

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