Background and Objectives:
Blood cultures are vital diagnostic tests that detect harmful pathogens in a patient's bloodstream. In this study, we implemented a process-driven quality improvement program to reduce blood culture contamination rates.
St Joseph Health (SJH) utilized the ISO 9001:2015 Internal Audit tool, failure mode effect analyses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Hierarchy of Controls to identify opportunities for improvement and design effective corrective and preventive action plans. These actions included reeducation and ongoing coaching of staff on the blood culture collection process, reorganizing blood culture supplies on the nursing units, and adding multiple layers of supervision.
A statistically significant relationship was identified between 2 variables (“contamination rate” and “cumulative cost difference”). The 2 variables had a negative association, demonstrating that as the contamination rate decreased, the cumulative cost difference increased, indicating potential cost savings.
The estimated value added to the institution through this initiative was approximately $215 743 to $228 543 in potential cost savings. SJH significantly reduced the number of blood culture contaminations in the critical care division, evidenced by a controlled 6-month mean below 1%. Review of the 6-month mean as a reference point demonstrated the sustainability of the implemented corrective and preventive measures.