Infectious Diseases Physicians

Our Services

IDP physicians are trained to evaluate a wide variety of infectious diseases. We respond to requests from primary care physicians, other specialists, and individuals themselves. Consultations may be requested to respond to unexplained symptoms, such as fevers or swollen lymph nodes, which may require a careful diagnostic evaluation. Other individuals are seen for treatment and management of recognized infections, such as shingles, urinary tract infections, hepatitis or pneumonia. Some patients, with compromised immune systems, such as HIV or organ transplantation, may require ongoing care over months or years to prevent infectious complications of the underlying condition.

Initial consultations are arranged by appointment with follow-up visits scheduled as needed. When necessary, laboratory tests such as blood work can be done on-site, and our office is located close to facilities that provide x-ray, CT scan, and other advanced tests. A completed report is usually provided promptly to the requesting doctor. Health records are kept on a highly encrypted electronic platform, which allows sharing of key information with other treating physicians and access, for the individual patients, to their own record, through the Patient Portal.

IDP physicians are available 24 hours a day to respond to requests for infectious diseases consultations at Inova Fairfax Hospital. One of our specialists is usually present in the hospital during daytime hours, during the week and on weekends. We pride ourselves on our prompt response to requests for consultations from our colleagues. After hours, one of our infectious diseases physicians is always available by phone or pager. Our physicians are able to address the full spectrum of infectious diseases in adults and adolescents as well as evaluate and treat infectious complications of surgery, trauma, cancer, transplants, HIV, and critically ill patients. IDP physicians work closely with the primary attending physician, with the multidisciplinary care team and with the other specialists involved in the care of the patient.

As of the end of 2015, IDP entered into a pilot project with the Hospital Administration and the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Hospital to help facilitate a safe, smooth transition of individuals with infectious diseases from the hospital to the post-hospital setting. The “Continuum of Care Initiative” has helped to involve ID physicians more closely in the care of individuals with an infection during the vulnerable period of moving from the hospital to the rehab facility or the home, particularly when IV antibiotic therapy is required.

Today, many individuals are discharged from acute care hospitals to rehabilitation hospitals or long term care facilities. For individuals with infections, especially those on IV antibiotics, follow up appointments are often required with the ID physician. Transportation to and from the facilities is often a challenge. IDP physicians recognized this, and beginning in 2015, our physicians and nurse practitioners are now seeing patients for follow up in several local long-term and rehab facilities.

In addition to follow up for recently hospitalized patients, our clinicians also provide ID back up and consultation to the attending physicians and nursing staff at these facilities. Rather than going to the office or the hospital, many individuals can receive needed ID consultations without leaving their facility.

In addition to evaluating general infectious diseases, several IDP physicians are specialized in the management of individuals with long term and chronic infectious diseases. We provide pre-planned, long term care for individuals with HIV, Hepatitis C, immunodeficiency, and other persistent infections. All of our patients are treated with respect and dignity and receive state-of-the-art care for their respective conditions.

Phone calls to the IDP office are answered in person between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. There is always an IDP physician available for emergencies after hours, on weekends and on holidays. After-hours callers to our main office number, 703-560-7900, are directed to the answering service, which allows the on-call physician to be contacted. Emergencies that cannot be managed over the phone are usually managed in collaboration with the Emergency Department at Inova Fairfax Hospital, or the hospital most convenient to the patient.

The Washington DC area is home to a diverse community of individuals, many of whom travel internationally. Travel to many parts of the world may present health risks, which can often be anticipated before travel, or which may need to be dealt with during a trip or upon return. IDP clinicians have many years of experience in advising travelers, providing immunizations and preventive medications, and in addressing health concerns upon return from overseas travel. Travel health services are provided through our sister organization, Travel Health Services of Northern Virginia. To see a full description of these services at our website click here.

Sometimes oral antibiotics are not enough to treat certain infections. Sometimes a physician must choose a form of the medicine that is given directly into the vein, or intravenously (IV). The IV option is often chosen because the medicine can achieve higher levels in the bloodstream and in the site of the infection than it can in oral form. Other times, certain antibiotics are only available in the IV form. IV antibiotics may be given once, or several times a day. Sometimes the medicines are given for a short period of days, other infections require up to 4-6 weeks, or more of daily infusions.

In order to administer IV medicines safely and effectively, IDP physicians work with well-trained clinicians, who administer the medicines in an office infusion suite. In this setting, patients are treated in a comfortable setting, during daytime hours. This arrangement is ideal for those receiving the medication once a day, who would prefer to have the infusion done for them. Another option is to provide the IV antibiotics in the home setting. To facilitate home infusion, IDP partners with home infusion companies, who deliver medications to the patient’s home, supervise the initial infusion, and provide monitoring and back-up to the patient in collaboration with the ID physician.

Home and office IV infusions are often given through a special IV that can be maintained for many weeks. These special IV lines are referred to as “midlines” or PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines.

Infusion Care Experience Survey

Infusion Continuum of Care (CoC) Survey

For the benefit of our patients and practitioners, IDP maintains a fully functioning clinical laboratory within our suite. A laboratory right at the point of care not only adds convenience for our patients, but it speeds up the availability of results and provides for greater dependability.

Our office is located close to facilities that provide x-ray, CT scan, and other sophisticated tests. These facilities customarily provide your doctor with a written report of your test result which becomes a part of your patient record with IDP.

In addition to caring for our patients with infections, IDP is committed to supporting efforts to address infections that affect the broader community.

IDP is closely involved in addressing injuries among “first responders” that can put them at risk for infection. Doctors, nurses, emergency responders, fire fighters, police officers, local government workers and others who put themselves at risk serving our communities might need protective treatment from an infection. IDP also offers their services to those who have on the job exposures commonly known as occupational exposures (OSHA). Our physicians are available to back up these essential professionals.

IDP now partners with Inova Fairfax hospital on addressing transitions of care for individuals with infections. During the vulnerable period, when these patients move from the hospital to the nursing home, rehabilitation center or home setting, IDP physicians have assumed a leadership role in providing care and availability during this “gap” in care. IDP physicians and nurse practitioners are now seeing individuals with infections in “after hospital” settings. We follow along with our patients and provide continuity visits and consultations directly in the rehab and long term care facility, without asking the patient and his or her family to come to our office.

IDP physicians are closely involved in efforts at the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus to reduce the consequences of infections among their patients and employees. Dr. Sujata Ambardar is the Medical Director for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Control. She works closely with her colleagues in the medical, nursing and pharmacy departments to reduce the risk of infections in the hospital.

With the emergence of new infections and the development of antibiotic resistance, new medications are needed for a number of infectious diseases. After new drugs are developed in the laboratory and tested in animals, human volunteers are needed to test whether the new medicines are safe and effective to use in the clinical practice setting.

In the United States, drugs must go through three phases of testing before they are considered for approval. Phase I studies carefully evaluate several doses of new drugs in a small number of volunteers. Sometimes these are healthy volunteers, who enjoy helping advance science.

If the investigators and the FDA feel that it is safe to continue, then the best dose is studied in a larger number of individuals, usually those with a specific disease or infection, to see if the drug continues to be safe and to get an initial indication as to whether the medicine has the intended effect against the germ. If these Phase II studies are satisfactory, then the FDA allows a much larger study to proceed, known as Phase III, in which the desired effect is either proven or disproven. After successful Phase III studies, the FDA may consider approval of the drug, to be prescribed by physicians.

The physicians at IDP participate in clinical trials and many of our patients have been volunteers on clinical trials. IDP takes our role as investigators seriously and we value the work that our patients have done in advancing the treatments available for several important infectious diseases.

To learn more about specific clinical studies click here to visit our companion site.