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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1997; 35(3): 563–565.
PMCID: PMC229627
Doing it right the first time: quality improvement and the contaminant blood culture.
F I Weinbaum, S Lavie, M Danek, D Sixsmith, G F Heinrich, and S S Mills
Department of Surgery, New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, Flushing 11355, USA.
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.
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