A Multimodal Intervention to Reduce C. difficile Infections and Stool Testing

Jillian M. Cotter, Claire L. Stokes, Suhong Tong, Meghan Birkholz, Jason Child, Carrye Cost, Rebecca Coughlin, Stephanie Cox, Susan A. Dolan, Kathleen Dorris, Keith Z. Hazleton, Virginia Lugo, Mikayla Norcross, Kelly Pearce, Samuel R. Dominguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The introduction of multiplex gastrointestinal panels at our institution resulted in increased Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) detection and stool test utilization. We aimed to reduce hospital-onset C. difficile infections (HO-CDIs), C. difficile detection, and overall stool testing by 20% within 1 year. METHODS: We conducted a quality improvement project from 2018 to 2020 at a large children's hospital. Interventions included development of a C. difficile testing and treatment clinical care pathway, new options for gastrointestinal panel testing with or without C. difficile (results were suppressed if not ordered), clinical decision support tool to restrict testing, and targeted prevention efforts. Outcomes included the rate of HO-CDI (primary), C. difficile detection, and overall stool testing. All measures were evaluated monthly among hospitalized children per 10 000 patient-days (PDs) using statistical process-control charts. For balancing measures, we tracked suppressed C. difficile results that were released during real-time monitoring because of concern for true infection and C. difficile-related adverse events. RESULTS: HO-CDI decreased by 55%, from 11 to 5 per 10 000 PDs. C. difficile detection decreased by 44%, from 18 to 10 per 10 000 PDs, and overall test utilization decreased by 29%, from 99 to 70 per 10 000 PDs. The decrease in stool tests resulted in annual savings of $55 649. Only 2.3% of initially suppressed positive C. difficile results were released, and no patients had adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic stewardship strategies, coupled with an evidence-based clinical care pathway, can be used to decrease C. difficile and improve overall test utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023061981
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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