Application of Participatory Ergonomics to the Dissemination of a Quality Improvement Program for Optimizing Blood Culture Use

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023 Oct;49(10):529-538. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2023.06.004. Epub 2023 Jun 10.


Background: Blood cultures are overused in pediatric ICUs (PICUs), which may lead to unnecessary antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. Using a participatory ergonomics (PE) approach, the authors disseminated a quality improvement (QI) program for optimizing blood culture use in PICUs to a national 14-hospital collaborative. The objective of this study was to evaluate the dissemination process and its impact on blood culture reduction.

Methods: The PE approach emphasized three key principles (stakeholder participation, application of human factors and ergonomics knowledge and tools, and cross-site collaboration) with a six-step dissemination process. Data on interactions between sites and the coordinating team and site experiences with the dissemination process were collected using site diaries and semiannual surveys with local QI teams, respectively, and correlated with the site-specific change in blood culture rates.

Results: Overall, participating sites were able to successfully implement the program and reduced their blood culture rates from 149.4 blood cultures per 1,000 patient-days/month before implementation to 100.5 blood cultures per 1,000 patient-days/month after implementation, corresponding to a 32.7% relative reduction (p < 0.001). Variations in the dissemination process, as well as in local interventions and implementation strategies, were observed across sites. Site-specific changes in blood culture rates were weakly negatively correlated with the number of preintervention interactions with the coordinating team (p = 0.057) but not correlated with their experiences with the six domains of the dissemination process or their interventions.

Conclusions: The authors applied a PE approach to disseminate a QI program for optimizing PICU blood culture use to a multisite collaborative. Working with local stakeholders, participating sites tailored their interventions and implementation processes and achieved the goal of reducing blood culture use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Culture*
  • Child
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires