Pricier lab tests better at preventing HAIs

While money can't buy you happiness, it could buy you better prevention of hospital-acquired infections, according to a study in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. Even though hospitals are trying to avoid costly lab tests, the study found that the more expensive molecular testing method is much more precise in identifying Clostridium difficile Toxin (C. diff) infection.

After evaluating the results of molecular versus non-molecular lab tests at Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children's Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, and Newport Hospital, the study found that molecular testing detected between 35 and 54 percent more patients who were positive for C. diff than other, cheaper methods.

C. diff bacteria, which causes diarrhea, leads to 9,000 hospital deaths each year, 3,000 post-discharge deaths, and 16,500 deaths in nursing homes, according to lead author Kimberle Chapin, MD, director of the microbiology lab at Lifespan.

To prevent the spread of C. diff to patients, the study findings suggest hospitals use molecular lab tests, as they will help hospitals identify more cases, as well as implement treatment and infection controls.

The findings also raise concerns about the number of unconfirmed cases of C. diff in hospitals that don't use molecular testing and related patient safety issues, notes Chapin.

For more information:
- here's the Lifespan press release
- check out the study abstract