Blood culture contamination results in delayed or unnecessary treatments, increased morbidity risk, extended lengths of hospital stay, and increased health care costs. Collecting 2 sets of blood cultures from separate sites helps differentiate bloodstream infections (BSIs) from contamination.
Blood culture contamination rates trailed the national threshold of less than 3% in one southeastern US emergency department (ED). Same-site and single-set collection issues were also identified.
This pre-/postintervention quality improvement study included 1137 patients (preintervention: n = 560; postintervention: n = 577) of all ages with blood culture orders in a 13-bed tertiary care ED.
A staff educational program, blood culture collection checklist with protocol, and monthly collective and individual feedback were implemented.
Blood culture contamination rates decreased from 3.39% to 2.6%. Same-site collection rates decreased from 15.13% to 4.14%.
The interventions effectively reduced blood culture contamination rates and same-site blood culture collections in the ED, enhancing the quality of care for patients with BSIs.