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Joint Commission Offers Course on Rapid Influenza Testing in Ambulatory Settings

The Joint Commission announces the launch of Strategies for Improving Rapid Influenza Testing in Ambulatory Settings (SIRAS), a free continuing education (CE) course designed for physicians, physician assistants and registered nurses who provide care in ambulatory settings. SIRAS was developed under a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Joint Commission.

The purpose of this course is to provide guidance to help clinicians appropriately use rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTS) in the diagnosis and treatment of influenza in the ambulatory setting. The correct diagnosis of influenza relies heavily on the practitioner’s ability to understand performance implications of RIDT and the impact of circulating influenza strains. RIDTs, if correctly interpreted, provide quick results and can play a key role in guiding clinical decisions in the ambulatory setting. The module contains videos that demonstrate proper techniques for collecting respiratory specimens, as well as a review of information pertinent to performing point of care testing in the ambulatory setting.

“As the 2012-2013 influenza season begins, we are offering this continuing education course with the hope that it will educate clinical workers who are on the front lines of preventing and treating the flu, and reinforce leading practices for rapid influenza testing,” says Jerod M. Loeb, PhD, executive vice president, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, the Joint Commission. “Our goal is to provide assistance to healthcare workers, so that they in-turn can provide the highest-quality care to their patients.”

SIRAS provides 2.0 hours of CE credits (ACCME, ANCC) issued by Joint Commission Resources, a not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission. In addition to the CE for ambulatory care providers, the Joint Commission is offering a free, no-credit SIRAS training module for medical office staff who collect respiratory specimens for influenza testing. The course will provide a demonstration of proper techniques for performing point-of-care testing on respiratory specimens in the ambulatory setting, an important issue given that surveys have indicated that specimen collection is often performed by staff with little or no training in specimen collection technique.

To register for the course, visit For more information about the SIRAS modules, contact Jill Chmielewski at

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