ISDD reduces contaminated blood cultures, costs

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 - Blood draw

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC Health) have found using a mechanical initial specimen diversion device (ISDD) with additional staff education could reduce contaminated blood cultures by four-fold.

The study, which was presented at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum, aimed to decrease the number of blood cultures being contaminated with pieces of skin from the blood drawing process.

"Working on this study and seeing such strong results speaks to the great things that can happen for patients when clinicians join forces on these issues," said lead study author Lisa Steed, PhD., MUSC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine professor. "Blood cultures, and the accuracy of those cultures, are incredibly important in making sure that patients are getting the right care, at the right time, and with the right process in place."

The ISDD used, called Steripath, is a sterile blood culture collection system capable of diverting and isolating the first 1.5-2 milliliters of blood during the blood draw. In testing the impact of the device, researchers noted a reduction of costs and staff time spent. Additionally, researchers suggested MUSC would be able to save $744,955 if the ISDD had been used for every blood draw in the emergency department during the 20-month study.

"We've seen a significant reduction of blood culture contaminations in our emergency department by using this device, along with education and training," said Danielle Scheurer, MD, MUSC Health chief quality officer. "By lessening the chances of contaminating a specimen, we increase our accurate diagnoses and treat patients with real infections. This in turn leads to decreased antibiotic use and allows us to help mitigate the ongoing, nationwide problem of antibiotic resistance from over or improper use."