If your employees service the healthcare industry or work in densely populated facilities, they face a higher risk of contracting contagious viruses or potentially contributing to an outbreak themselves. This is especially relevant to both vendors who service the healthcare industry and medical providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, homecare providers and medical clinics have an important duty to the public when it comes to keeping them safe from unnecessary exposure to diseases. It is the duty of the medical provider to ensure that all medical staff and vendors in their hospital are up to date with vaccinations and free from any contagious diseases. In doing so, this helps to ensure that both patients and employees are protected from contracting anything due to exposure while in a medical setting. One of the best ways to do this is by ensuring both their employees and vendors servicing their facilities have displayed immunity through titer testing or vaccinations.
What is Titer Testing?
Titer testing involves administering a blood test that is sent to a lab and studied. This type of test checks for a variety of antibodies in the blood in an effort to detect immunity levels to certain diseases. If results show a low immunity level, it is usually an indication that the individual requires a vaccination or booster to prevent becoming a carrier or infected with the disease. With a blood sample, a titer test can identify the presence or absence of:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
Benefits of Titer Testing
Using a titer test as a prerequisite before requiring any vaccinations or boosters will help determine which of your employees are immune to certain diseases. The test will also detect which of your employees already have acceptable immunity levels from previously administered vaccinations. Simply requiring each employee to undergo the same vaccinations without testing immunity through titer testing can be expensive and inefficient. Vaccinations are expensive and also tend to require multiple doses to complete. Also, for those who have been previously vaccinated or exposed, receiving additional vaccines would be unnecessary. A titer test is much cheaper and can eliminate instances of re-vaccinating individuals who have already received the appropriate vaccinations and are up-to-date.
Vendor Credentialing Requirements and Titer Testing:
If your company services or sells to a healthcare facility such as a hospital, titer testing will often be part of a vendor credentialing requirement. Your staff will have to show proof of immunity to certain diseases before they can move passed the registration desk. As mentioned, the only way to show proof of immunity is through titer testing or vaccination records. Below you can find a list of job types / industries that are often required to show immunity records before they can work in or sell to a hospital.
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Sales Reps
- Healthcare Per Diem Staff (e.g nurses and therapists)
- DME (Durable Medical Equipment) Repair Services
- Surgical Equipment Sterilization Services
- Emergency Rescue Services
- Contracted Janitorial Services
- Delivery Services
Preventing Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Another benefit of titer testing is that it can help protect employees and the public from outbreaks that impact massive amounts of people. An article was recently written by Forbes that goes over the importance of protecting both employees and communities from these outbreaks. While vaccinations are not required by law, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends them for all healthcare workers. So far in 2019, there have been a considerable amount of measles outbreaks across the country. Known cases have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington. The number of reported cases this year is expected to rank higher than the cases reported in 2014 by the CDC. Prior to 2019, 2014 held the greatest number of outbreaks since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.
chart provided from the cdc.gov website
Measles outbreaks can spike during any given year due to an increase in the number of travelers who catch it abroad and return to the U.S. with it. This can then spread like wildfire among communities with considerable amounts of unvaccinated people. This is a common scenario, as several countries have reported an increase in this disease over the past decade including France and over 30 countries in the WHO region of Europe.
Should a medical employee or vendor become a carrier of one of these diseases, it could potentially infect an unvaccinated or low immunity having patient who walk through the doors of a healthcare facility. Protecting both the public and medical employees from a measles outbreak is possible by using an MMR titer test which is used to detect measles, mumps, and rubella. This test can determine who needs to be vaccinated and who doesn’t—saving a considerable amount of time, money, and health risk.
Get Started with Titer Testing
If you’re interested in titer testing your employees servicing the healthcare sector, NMS Health offers a simple titer testing service for companies who wish to test their staff for Hepatitis, MMR and Varicella. With a network of over 2,500 medical clinics, 1,500 pharmacies, and 4,500 labs across the country, there’s likely to be a convenient location nearby. Our services includes scheduling of your employees as well as follow-up on low titer results. If you’d like to learn more, come check out our services and request pricing today.