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It’s a tragic sign of the times that recurrent injection safety lapses and hepatitis outbreaks have gotten to the point where public health officials have finally created a toolkit to guide notification and follow-up of potentially exposed patients.
That said, it’s better than the continual reinvention of the wheel and should help standardize the process and better inform future incidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toolkit contains resources and templates to facilitate a swift and effective notification process.
“This toolkit is intended to be used after a health department or healthcare facility decides to notify patients of their potential exposure to infectious organisms due to an unsafe practice or infection control breach,” the CDC states. “It offers resources and template materials to facilitate the notification process as well as some essential tips and strategies.”
The toolkit is composed of four sections, not all of which may be necessary for each patient notification. The first section provides sample materials to assist with creating notification letters and reviews risk communication principles. It also includes links to fact sheets with basic information on the diseases that can be transmitted by unsafe injection practices and other basic infection control lapses. The second section covers planning media and communication strategies. The third section describes how to establish communication resources to support patient notification, such as setting up a call center. The final section offers strategies for releasing patient notification letters and describes how to work with the media and partners, the CDC reports.