The aim of the project was to determine whether the rate of contaminant blood cultures could be reduced by using a team of dedicated phlebotomists. Comparisons were made between adult patients requiring blood cultures for suspected bacteremia on medical and surgical units before and after the introduction and withdrawal of a dedicated blood culture team. The results showed that a significant reduction in the contaminant blood culture rate was achieved by the blood culture team (P < 0.001; chi(2) test). Therefore, in our experience, the rate of contaminant blood cultures can be reduced in a teaching hospital by using a team of dedicated phlebotomists. Calculations made with our data and those published by others suggest that cost savings from reducing false-positive blood cultures are greater than the cost of the blood culture team.