The Laboratory’s Role in Improving C. difficile Rates

Executive Dialogue

Clostridioides Difficile Rates Plummet At One Health System With Laboratory-Driven Redesign

 

In the fight against Clostridioides difficile (C. diff; formerly known as Clostridium difficile), hospitals have become extra vigilant about rapidly diagnosing and treating infected patients, which can save lives as well as prevent the spread of the infection. Yet, as AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital Evanston (Ill.) learned, this approach can backfire if laboratory testing is overly sensitive, leading to high numbers of false positives and unnecessary treatment of patients who might have C. diff-like symptoms (e.g., diarrhea, abdominal cramps) but don’t have the infection. After the hospital redesigned laboratory testing for C. diff, cases declined by 54% and related costs decreased significantly.

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