The high cost of false positive blood cultures

The false positive blood culture costs to hospitals are high. Likewise, the unnecessary treatment of a suspected bloodstream infection poses serious clinical risk for patients.

The financial cost of false positive blood cultures

  • Healthcare insurers no longer reimburse hospital-acquired infections.
  • The cost of a false-positive blood culture is estimated at ~$4,000-$10,000.1,2,3,4
  • With 1/3 of all positive blood culture results being inaccurate, the average hospital spends more than $1 million dollars on unnecessary treatment of non-existent bloodstream infections.
  • Each year, U.S. hospitals waste several billion dollars related to more than one million false-positive results.
  • Non-compliance with CMS rule 42 C.F.R § 482.42 for the avoidance of antibiotic misuse will results in reimbursement penalties.

The clinical cost of false positive blood cultures

  • In-hospital mortality increases for patients with false positive blood cultures.2
  • Extended hospital stays increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections and adverse events.2
  • Unnecessary antibiotics increases the risk of allergic reactions and drug interactions.
  • The overuse of antibiotics lessens the efficacy of future treatment, leaving patients vulnerable to multidrug-resistant superbugs.
  • Delays in proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • The discomfort, inconvenience, and anxiety caused by unnecessary treatment lowers patient satisfaction scores.

It is time to lower false positive blood cultures costs and improve the accuracy of blood culture results.