Impact of blood cultures drawn by phlebotomy on contamination rates and health care costs in a hospital emergency department

Gander RM, Byrd L, DeCrescenzo M, Hirany S, Bowen M, Baughman J
J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Apr;47(4):1021-4.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

  • Demonstrated the value of phlebotomists in reducing rates of false positive blood cultures.
  • Phlebotomists had a false positive blood cultures rate of 3.1 which was better than the non-phlebotomists (5.6 and 7.4).
  • Comparison of median patient charges between negative and false-positive episodes ($18,752 versus $27,472) showed a $8,720 difference while the median length of stay increased from 4 to 5 days.
  • By utilizing phlebotomists to collect blood cultures in the ED, contamination rates were lowered to recommended levels, with projected reductions in patient charges of approximately $4.1 million per year

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