CDC releases toolkit to assist with patient notification events after unsafe medical practices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new toolkit to assist health departments and healthcare facilities with notifying patients after an infection control lapse or potential disease transmission during medical care. The toolkit includes the key steps a healthcare facility or public health department should take to initiate a patient notification and provides resources to assist with creating notification documents, planning media and communication strategies, establishing communication resources to support patient notification, and releasing notification letters.

CDC's Patient Notification Toolkit is available on-line.

CDC will be presenting the toolkit during a workshop at the APIC Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on June 9th, 2013, and at a series of upcoming webinars and conferences for state and local health officials and communication professionals.

Since 2001, more than 150,000 patients have been potentially exposed to hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV due to unsafe medical practices in U.S. healthcare facilities. Last year, CDC and state health departments notified nearly 14,000 patients during a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis  and other infections.

Additional Information

Although the circumstances surrounding individual incidents may vary, the communication needs that follow are consistent and predictable. These situations have the potential to be frightening, high profile, and sensitive; this toolkit contains resources and templates to facilitate a swift and effective notification process.

To guide the development of the toolkit, CDC conducted a series of focus groups to assess public perceptions and preferences surrounding patient notifications (Schneider et al, J Patient Saf 2013:9;8-12), and held stakeholder meetings to elicit best practices in patient notifications.

To learn more about this new resource, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/pntoolkit/index.html.