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DOI: 10.1542/hpeds.2015-0116


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.

Journal Title

Hosp Pediatr





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MeSH Keywords

Child; Clinical Laboratory Services; Clostridium difficile; Cost Savings; Economics, Hospital; Feces; Hospitals, Pediatric; Humans; Microbiological Techniques; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Program Evaluation; Quality Improvement; Unnecessary Procedures


Clostridium difficile; C Diff; Quality Improvement; Children's Hospitals; Lab Tests