Infection Prevention and Control for Clinical Office Practice

A best practices document for the infection prevention and control for clinical office practice is now available. This document replaces the College’s publication; Infection Control in the Physician’s Office (2004) and was developed by The Provincial Infection Diseases Advisory Committee on Infection Prevention and Control in collaboration with the College.

It is incumbent on a physician to protect individuals within his or her clinical office practice. This responsibility is not restricted to patients, but rather, includes clinical office staff and other visitors as well. Both from a structural and functional point of view there are ample opportunities for infection to be transmitted in an office setting. Infectious agents are not only spread person-to-person, but can also be spread indirectly through inanimate objects known as fomites, and the waiting room of a clinical office practice may be a source for many communicable diseases. As such, protective mechanisms must be in place, not only in direct patient management but in handling of the clinical office environment as well.

These best practices will outline:

  • principles of infection prevention and control in a clinical office setting
  • legislation relating to clinical office practice and duties of physicians as employers and supervisors
  • issues to consider when setting up a new clinical office
  • rationale and tools for screening and risk assessment for infection
  • recommendations for providing a clean clinical office environment
  • guidance for reprocessing of reusable medical equipment
  • protection and safety issues related to staff

These infection prevention and control best practices for physicians are not intended to replace a physician’s best clinical judgement, but will assist physicians with their clinical office-based practice. Some components have been derived from legislation and regulations, and will state in explicit terms what physicians should or should not do. Other sections are evidence-based best practices, intended to increase awareness about the day-to-day risks of infection acquisition and transmission in a physician’s clinical office and to equip physicians with practical guidance and tools to minimize such risks.

By employing these best practices as part of routine care and knowing how to respond to the threat of infection in an expected fashion (e.g., implementing seasonal screening for acute respiratory infections), the risks associated with serious infectious disease outbreaks will be mitigated, the level of practice in clinical office settings will be elevated and the public will be protected by minimizing the risk of infection transmission.

Excerpt from “Infection Prevention and Control for Clinical Office Practice” Published June 2013 by Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC)