In this single center case-control study of the detrimental effects of contaminated blood cultures, researchers found that patients with a false positive blood culture had a significantly longer length of stay (by 5 day) and higher hospital cost (almost $5,000) than those with a true negative blood culture. They estimated the cost of these false positive cultures to be almost $2million a year. While there are a number of assumptions in this study, and not all confounders were accounted for, there is no doubt that reducing the rate of false positive blood cultures in hospitals would reduce LOS and cost (abstract)
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.