Sustained reduction in rates of hospital-onsetClostridium difficileinfection using an automated electronic health record protocol

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An automated protocol was designed within our electronic medical record (EMR) to help curb the Clostridium difficile problem at our institution. The protocol will identify patients at high risk for C difficile, improve the timing of testing of patients infected on admission, and enhance the appropriateness of C difficile testing throughout the patient's hospitalization.


Admitted patients with 2 of the following 3 criteria were labeled as high risk for C difficile: admission to a medical institution in the preceding 90 days, administration of antibiotics in the preceding 90 days, or a history of C difficile. High-risk patients with diarrhea in the first 3 days of admission are identified in the EMR, and prompt testing for C difficile is done. After day 3, if diarrhea develops, a series of questions is presented to help test the appropriate patients for C difficile.


A statistically significant reduction in rates of hospital-onset C difficile was achieved after implementation of the protocol.


Implementation of an automated protocol for targeted testing of high-risk patients for C difficile was successful at reducing rates of hospital-onset C difficile by improving timing and appropriateness of testing.

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