Health care-onset health care facility-associated Clostridium difficile infection (HO-CDI) is overdiagnosed for several reasons, including the high prevalence of C. difficile colonization and the inability of hospitals to limit testing to patients with clinically significant diarrhea. We conducted a quasiexperimental study from 22 June 2015 to 30 June 2016 on consecutive inpatients with C. difficile test orders at an academic hospital. Real-time electronic patient data tracking was used by the laboratory to enforce testing criteria (defined as the presence of diarrhea [=3 unformed stools in 24 h] and absence of laxative intake in the prior 48 h). Outcome measures included C. difficile test utilization, HO-CDI incidence, oral vancomycin utilization, and clinical complications. During the intervention, 7.1% (164) and 9.1% (211) of 2,321 C. difficile test orders were canceled due to absence of diarrhea and receipt of laxative therapy, respectively. C. difficile test utilization decreased upon implementation from an average of 208.8 tests to 143.0 tests per 10,000 patient-days (P < 0.001). HO-CDI incidence rate decreased from an average of 13.0 cases to 9.7 cases per 10,000 patient-days (P = 0.008). Oral vancomycin days of therapy decreased from an average of 13.8 days to 9.4 days per 1,000 patient-days (P = 0.009). Clinical complication rates were not significantly different in patients with 375 canceled orders compared with 869 episodes with diarrhea but negative C. difficile results. Real-time electronic clinical data tracking is an effective tool for verification of C. difficile clinical testing criteria and safe reduction of inflated HO-CDI rates.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JCM.02319-16
View details for PubMedID 28250001