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What constitutes excellence in Infectious Diseases practice?

October 17 2016

Natasha Chida and colleagues from Johns Hopkins have added narratives of excellence in ID practice to Colleen Christmas’ framework of what constitutes clinical excellence. These 7 domains meld together in masterful clinical practitioners in ID:

  • Diagnostic acumen – especially pattern recognition of unusual infections,
  • Knowledge – lifelong learning in ID, and keeping abreast of developments in related areas,
  • Scholarly approach to clinical practice – a cerebral approach to patient care, applying evidence to patient care decisions, considering new methods of care delivery, and disseminating new clinical knowledge,
  • Communication and interpersonal skills - responsive and considerate, a good listener and explainer,
  • Professionalism and humanism – notable in the face of potentially lethal transmissible infections,
  • Skillful navigation of the healthcare system - using resources appropriately and being your patient’s advocate,
  • Passion for clinical medicine – the best ID physicians are excellent role models for clinical medicine.
Image by: Eduardo Frei, used under the creative commons license

Chida also notes that an appreciation of infection control is integral to excellent ID practice. We at LIFE would add that excellence in fungal disease medicine is only possible with strong mycology laboratory support, given the lack of specificity of so many fungal diseases.

Like Christmas, Chida finds it difficult to measure clinical excellence in modern medical practice, but recognizes that it is usually evident, if present.  She quotes Dr John Bartlett who wrote about ID practice: “It would be difficult to find another discipline in medicine that has such extraordinary diversity, surprises, value in patient care, and clinical relevance for both domestic and international applications.”


  1. Christmas et al. 2008
  2. Chida et al. 2016