SOURCE: The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission

October 21, 2013 12:51 ET

The Joint Commission Offers Free Continuing Education Course

Strategies for Improving Rapid Influenza Testing in Ambulatory Settings (SIRAS)

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL--(Marketwired - Oct 21, 2013) -  With the arrival of the 2013-2014 influenza season, The Joint Commission today announced an updated version of the free Strategies for Improving Rapid Influenza Testing in Ambulatory Settings (SIRAS) continuing education (CE) course for physicians, physician assistants and registered nurses. SIRAS was developed under a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Joint Commission.

Education is key to the successful prevention of and treatment of influenza, which affects five to 20 percent of Americans each year and results in more than 200,000 hospitalizations annually. Although it is important to recognize that both healthy and vulnerable patients alike are at risk for influenza, the correct diagnosis of influenza relies heavily on the practitioner's ability to understand performance implications of rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTS) and the impact of circulating influenza strains. The free Joint Commission SIRAS course provides guidance to help clinicians in ambulatory settings appropriately use RIDTS to diagnose and treat influenza.

The four, 30-minute courses provide a review of information pertinent to performing point of care testing in the ambulatory setting. The module, updated since it was first offered in 2012 and now available on iPads and tablets, contains videos to aid ambulatory practices get ready for this year's influenza season. Demonstrations of proper techniques for collecting respiratory specimens are designed to help ambulatory care providers correctly use and interpret RIDTS in order to obtain quick results that can play a key role in guiding clinical decisions.

"Nurses, physician assistants and doctors at outpatient clinics and in emergency departments are vital to preventing and treating the flu by properly using rapid influenza testing," says Daniel J. Castillo, M.D., medical director, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission. "The Joint Commission is pleased to offer this course to help front-line health care professionals provide the highest-quality care possible 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. Users have the ability to view and print transcripts anytime.

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

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,300 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,500 other health care organizations that provide nursing and rehabilitation center care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission currently certifies more than 2,000 disease-specific care programs, focused on the care of patients with chronic illnesses such as stroke, joint replacement, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and many others. The Joint Commission also provides health care staffing services certification for more than 750 staffing offices. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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