Practice forum| Volume 41, ISSUE 12, P1272-1274, December 2013

Reducing blood culture contamination rates: A systematic approach to improving quality of care

      Contaminated blood cultures can have a deleterious effect on patient care; they may lead to longer hospital stays, unnecessary antibiotic therapy, needless removal of central lines, and redundant laboratory testing. A multidisciplinary quality improvement team from a western US health care system used an evidence-based process to define a system for obtaining blood culture specimens that subsequently decreased contamination rates from 3.7% to 1.7% with an estimated savings close to 2 million dollars in 2 years.

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