College of American Pathologists

  QP124 - Timeliness and Accuracy of Reporting Preliminary
  Blood Culture Results


Posted January 16, 2012

The impact on outcome of managing patients with serious bloodstream infections depends, in part, on the timeliness of reporting preliminary blood culture Gram stain results. It is therefore important to ensure that laboratory practices are optimized to process positive blood cultures and notify responsible clinicians of results as quickly as possible.


Measure the timeliness and accuracy of preliminary Gram stain results from positive blood cultures for benchmarking quality performance in clinical microbiology laboratories.

Data Collection

Prospectively review up to the first 40 consecutive positive blood cultures in which a Gram stain is performed during a 12-week period of time. For each blood culture, participants will record the times when: 1) the positive culture was first detected, 2) the Gram stain processing began, 3) the Gram stain was interpreted, and 4) the notification of preliminary results was completed. In addition, Gram stain results will be compared to the final culture results and recorded with interpretation of concurrence or discrepancy. Participants will also complete a questionnaire about laboratory blood culture practices that includes method(s), staffing, and reporting procedures.

Performance Indicators

  • Primary:
    • Overall time interval between the first detection of the positive blood culture and the report of the preliminary
    • Gram stain result
    • Percent agreement between the preliminary Gram stain result and the final culture results
  • Secondary:
    • Time interval between the detection of a positive blood culture and the start of Gram stain processing
    • Time interval between the start of Gram stain processing and the preliminary Gram stain result
    • Time interval between the preliminary Gram stain result and the clinician notification of preliminary results

Ship Date

September 4, 2012

Order Deadline

September 27, 2012*

*Orders must be received by the order deadline.


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