Intravenous literature: Hopkins, K., Huynh, S., McNary, C., Walker, A., Nixon, R. and Craighead, J.E. (2013) Reducing blood culture contamination rates: A systematic approach to improving quality of care. American Journal of Infection Control. June 5th. [Epub ahead of print].
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.