EMR 'nudge' cuts unneeded C. diff tests, study finds

An EMR-based alert helped reduce unnecessary orders for testing for Clostridioides difficile infection in hospitals, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers analyzed C. diff testing orders two years before and two years after the implementation of an EMR intervention. Orders for C. diff testing were considered inappropriate if the patient had received a laxative or stool softener in the previous 24 hours.

The EMR intervention included an alert that defaulted to canceling a C. diff test order for patients whose medicals record showed they had received a laxative or stool softener in the 24 hours prior.

The study shows that of the 17,694 C. diff tests orders, 7 percent were inappropriate. Monthly C. diff test orders decreased by 21 percent after the EMR alert was implemented.

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