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Effect of changing urine testing orderables and clinician order sets on inpatient urine culture testing: Analysis from a large academic medical center

  • Satish Munigala (a1), Rebecca Rojek (a2), Helen Wood (a2), Melanie L. Yarbrough (a3), Ronald R. Jackups (a3), Carey-Ann D. Burnham (a3) and David K. Warren (a1)...



To evaluate the impact of changes to urine testing orderables in computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system on urine culturing practices.


Retrospective before-and-after study.


A 1,250-bed academic tertiary-care referral center.


Hospitalized adults who had ≥1 urine culture performed during their stay.


The intervention (implemented in April 2017) consisted of notifications to providers, changes to order sets, and inclusion of the new urine culture reflex tests in commonly used order sets. We compared the urine culture rates before the intervention (January 2015 to April 2016) and after the intervention (May 2016 to August 2017), adjusting for temporal trends.


During the study period, 18,954 inpatients (median age, 62 years; 68.8% white and 52.3% female) had 24,569 urine cultures ordered. Overall, 6,662 urine cultures (27%) were positive. The urine culturing rate decreased significantly in the postintervention period for any specimen type (38.1 per 1,000 patient days preintervention vs 20.9 per 1,000 patient days postintervention; P < .001), clean catch (30.0 vs 18.7; P < .001) and catheterized urine (7.8 vs 1.9; P < .001). Using an interrupted time series model, urine culture rates decreased for all specimen types (P < .05).


Our intervention of changes to order sets and inclusion of the new urine culture reflex tests resulted in a 45% reduction in the urine cultures ordered. CPOE system format plays a vital role in reducing the burden of unnecessary urine cultures and should be implemented in combination with other efforts.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: David K. Warren, Email:


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