Reducing Overutilization of Testing for Clostridium difficile Infection in a Pediatric Hospital System: A Quality Improvement Initiative
OBJECTIVES: Study objectives included addressing overuse of Clostridium difficile laboratory testing by decreasing submission rates of nondiarrheal stool specimens and specimens from children ≤12 months of age and determining resultant patient and laboratory cost savings associated with decreased testing.
METHODS: A multifaceted initiative was developed, and components included multiple provider education methods, computerized order entry modifications, and automatic declination from laboratory on testing stool specimens of nondiarrheal consistency and from children ≤12 months old. A run chart, demonstrating numbers of nondiarrheal plus infant stool specimens submitted over time, was developed to analyze the initiative’s impact on clinicians’ test-ordering practices. A p-chart was generated to evaluate the percentage of these submitted specimens tested biweekly over a 12-month period. Cost savings for patients and the laboratory were assessed at the study period’s conclusion.
RESULTS: Run chart analysis revealed an initial shift after the interventions, suggesting a temporary decrease in testing submission; however, no sustained differences in numbers of specimens submitted biweekly were observed over time. On the p-chart, the mean percentage of specimens tested before the intervention was 100%. After the intervention, the average percentage of specimens tested dropped to 53.8%. Resultant laboratory cost savings totaled nearly $3600, and patient savings on testing charges were ∼$32 000.
CONCLUSIONS: Automatic laboratory declination of nondiarrheal stools submitted for CDI testing resulted in a sustained decrease in the number of specimens tested, resulting in significant laboratory and patient cost savings. Despite multiple educational efforts, no sustained changes in physician ordering practices were observed.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics