J Infect Prev. 2021 May;22(3):136-139. doi: 10.1177/1757177420976815. Epub 2020 Dec 9.
Overdiagnosis of Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) is associated with increased hospital length of stay, antibiotic overuse, unnecessary infection prevention efforts and excess costs. This study evaluated a paper-based bedside C. difficile screening tool on the number of C. difficile laboratory tests performed and number of C. difficile infection (CDI) diagnoses. Nurses used the tool to determine whether stool should be sent for C. difficile testing. The tool provided indications for stool testing. We collected data on the number of C. difficile stool tests performed and CDI diagnoses for nine months before (PreT) and after (PostT) tool implementation in the hospital. We found a 31% reduction in the mean monthly number of C. difficile tests performed (37 PreT to 25 PostT) and a 56% reduction in CDI diagnoses (19 PreT to 8 PostT). This study demonstrates the success of using nurses and a bedside tool to decrease inappropriate C. difficile testing. This intervention has implications for patient management, infection prevention and cost containment. This low-cost paper-based tool may be helpful for the 25% of hospitals in the USA not using clinical decision support in their electronic health record (EHR), as well as for hospitals outside the United States who may not have access to EHRs.