Evaluation of hospital blood culture utilization rates to identify opportunities for diagnostic stewardship

To evaluate the pattern of blood-culture utilization among a cohort of 6 hospitals to identify potential opportunities for diagnostic stewardship, our team completed a retrospective analysis of blood-culture utilization during adult inpatient or emergency department (ED) encounters in 6 hospitals from May 2019 to April 2020. Two measures of blood-culture utilization rates (BCURs) were investigated: the total number of blood cultures, defined as a unique accession number per 1,000 patient days (BCX) and a new metric of blood-culture events per 1,000 patient days to account for paired culture practices. A blood-culture event was defined as an initial blood culture and all subsequent samples for culture drawn within 12 hours for patients with an inpatient or ED encounter. Cultures were evaluated by unit type, positivity and contamination rates, and other markers evaluating the quality of blood-culture collection.

This original article was published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.