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Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center Reduces Blood Culture Contamination

Blood culture contamination remains a challenging, but avoidable, cause of false positive blood cultures that result in diagnostic errors. Clinical impacts include extended length of stay and administration of unnecessary and/or inappropriate antibiotics resulting in increased antibiotic resistance. There are also significant financial costs associated with these preventable events.

In 2015, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center improved staff adherence to evidence-based protocols for blood culture collection by embracing internal transparency practices. Good Samaritan was able to track patient and collector identification using new barcode technology. The facility was then able to create an un-blinded individual collector blood culture contamination rate report that helped identify those with high contamination rates, allowing leadership to streamline re-education and coaching, and funnel training resources to those most in need.

Through this initiative, the facility-wide blood culture contamination rate fell 68% and has remained below the national benchmark for two years. Emergency department collectors achieved a 71% contamination rate reduction. The inpatient collector contamination rate was reduced 25%; and the hospital avoided an estimated $2.14 million in costs associated with contaminated blood cultures over two years post-intervention.

For more information on Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center’s Pinnacle award-winning program, watch HANYS’ video highlighting their achievements.

For more information, contact Mary Hotaling, PhD, Assistant Vice President, Laboratory Quality, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, at (631) 609-2605 or at mary.hotaling@chsli.org.