Although the diagnosis and treatment of infections can be complicated and our physicians and staff are often challenged to deliver the latest and best options to our patients, IDP is committed to ensuring that our patients have a safe and comforting experience while in our care.
Our patients can expect to be treated with the highest level of respect. We will do everything in our power to ensure that each patient has the opportunity to be heard, to receive the time necessary to properly address the medical issue and the emotional or psychosocial consequences of the infection. We will always try to minimize the “hassles” associated with a medical visit, including smooth scheduling, check in, and minimize wait times where possible. We will do our best to communicate our thoughts to our patients and their loved-ones and to share our medical plans with referring and primary care physicians.
Some of our patients see us for only one or two visits. Others will be seeing us regularly for many years. All of our patients are important to us. We are committed to ensuring that each of them feels as if he or she is the reason we are here.
IV Infusion Care
Sometimes oral antibiotics are not enough to treat certain infections. In these cases, a clinician 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 at 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 clinicians work with well-trained staff, who administer the medicines in our office infusion suites. 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 clinician. Additional considerations where patients are infused depends on patient’s health insurance, home support, and a patient’s capabilities and comfort level. In coordination with our infusion pharmacy colleagues, we collaboratively educate a patient and family on managing their infusions in the home setting whenever possible.
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.
Hours for office IV infusions are:
Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Holidays — 8:30 am to 12:00pm
Office IV infusion hours are subject to change according to patient needs
Office Care and Consultations
IDP physicians are trained to evaluate a wide variety of infectious diseases. We respond to requests from primary care physicians, other specialists, and individuals. Certain consultations 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, pneumonia, and post-operative infections. 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 provided 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 our Patient Portal.
Hospital Care and Consultations
IDP physicians are available 24 hours a day to respond to requests for infectious diseases consultations at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus Inova Alexandria 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. Our physicians can 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 attending physician, with the multidisciplinary care team and with the other specialists involved in the care of the patient.
IDP coordinates with the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus and Inova Alexandria 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.
With the emergence of new infections, the development of antibiotic resistance, plus an array of new viruses, new treatments and vaccines are called for to protect both individuals and communities. After new medicines and vaccines 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 everyday clinical practice.
In the United States, all new drug candidates (treatment medicines and vaccines) must go through three phases of testing before they are considered for approval. Independent clinical research investigators along with their pharmaceutical and biotechnology company sponsors carry out this testing. Investigative sites must meet strict standards for enrolling volunteers and carrying out the studies based on preapproved study designs.
Phase I studies carefully evaluate several doses of the new drug 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 or vaccine 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.
IDP clinicians contribute to the clinical trials oversight and management to maintain patient safety and ensure data integrity. Many of our patients have been volunteers in 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.
Our goal is to refill all prescriptions correctly and as fast as possible. We do this through electronic means directly to your local or mail order pharmacy. When a prescription refill is requested by you or through your pharmacy, our staff may require up to 72 business hours to complete the request. Many of the medications we prescribe for infectious diseases require routine office follow up and laboratory testing. This is because various diagnoses and the associated treatments require careful oversight and monitoring for safety and effectiveness.
Refill requests are handled during normal office hours, Monday through Friday. Our patient portal is the easiest and surest means for communicating a refill request. Please take full advantage of this automated process. At the time of your request, please identify which pharmacy you would like the order to go to in the event we have several pharmacies on file in your record.
Once a refill request is received, staff reviews your chart to confirm appropriate office follow up and laboratory testing have occurred. If there have been cancelled appointments or overdue follow ups, this creates a concern for responsible prescribing and safety monitoring. In such cases, you will be contacted by staff and your clinician notified. This may cause a delay in authorizing a prescription refill.
Up to date patient information is also important for the prompt handling of refill requests. Keeping information such as address, phone numbers, emergency contacts, health insurance, and preferred pharmacy is your responsibility. Using our patient portal is the quickest and surest way to keep this information up to date.
Certain medications which require prior authorization can take longer than 72 hours to fill or refill. This is due to the need to contact your insurance carrier for approval. Often, we will not know if a prior authorization is required until your pharmacy attempts to process the medication according to your insurance coverage. In many cases the prior authorization process requires our office to submit clinical notes and laboratory data to your insurance carrier for review and confirmation of coverage. Therefore, keeping appointments and adhering to routine follow ups, based on your condition and medication, are essential to provide adequate information for your insurance’s review. Your health insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. So, we encourage all insured patients to familiarize themselves with the benefits and terms associated with your policy.