Using clinical decision support to improve urine culture diagnostic stewardship, antimicrobial stewardship, and financial cost: A multicenter experience

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020 May;41(5):564-570. doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.37. Epub 2020 Mar 5.


Objective: Despite evidence to the contrary, many practitioners continue to inappropriately screen for and treat bacteria in the urine of clinically asymptomatic patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a new order set on the number of urine culture performed, antibiotic days of therapy (DOT), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), and associated financial impact.

Design: A quasi-experimental before-and-after intervention.

Setting: We conducted this study at 5 Catholic Health Initiative (CHI) hospitals in Texas that use the same electronic health record (EHR) system.

Patients: The study populations included adult patients who had urine culture performed from June 2017 to June 2019.

Intervention: The intervention (implemented June 25, 2018) was the addition of a new order set in the electronic health record that required practitioners to choose an indication for the type of urine study. The primary outcome was number of urine cultures performed adjusted for the number of total patient days.

Results: Following implementation of the new order set, the number of urine cultures performed among the 5 sites decreased from 1,175.8 tests per 10,000 patient days before the intervention to 701.4 after the intervention (40.4% reduction; P < .01). Antibiotic DOT for patients with a urinary tract infection indication decreased from 102.5 to 86.9 per 1,000 patient days (15.2% reduction; P < .01). The CAUTI standardized infection ratio was 1.0 before the intervention and 0.8 after the intervention (P = .23). The estimated yearly savings following the intervention was US$535,181.

Conclusions: The addition of a new order set resulted in decreases in the number of urine cultures performed and the antibiotic DOT, as well as substantial financial savings.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship / methods*
  • Catholicism
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical* / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Religious
  • Humans
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Texas
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / microbiology
  • Urine / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents