Stanford Health Care

Landmark Study Shows a 0% Blood Culture Contamination Rate is Achievable with Steripath

As a professor in infectious disease and microbiology, epidemiologist, and Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Stanford Health Care, Dr. Lucy S. Tompkins was skeptical that a 0% blood culture contamination rate could be achieved, especially in a major academic medical center.


“Blood culture contamination is a serious patient safety issue and is associated with several harmful outcomes,” Tompkins notes. “Even though Stanford Hospital has a superb phlebotomy team, our team could not always reduce the contamination rate to below 3%, the current industry standard.”


Study Results

In an oral abstract of the Steripath®Gen2 Initial Specimen Diversion Device® (ISDD®) study results presented to PACCARB 2021, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial titled “Getting to Zero: Eliminating Blood Culture Contamination with the ISDD,” Tompkins reported zero blood culture contamination events and zero false-positive CLABSIs when 11,000+ blood cultures were drawn using Steripath during an 11-month period.


Stanford Data


The Clinical Significance of Sub-One Percent Contamination Rates

Steripath is the only FDA 510(k)-cleared device indicated to reduce blood culture contamination rates. It is also the only device to meet the evidence-based Emergency Nurse Association Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Infusion Nurse Society Standard of 1.0 ml or greater diversion volume. By engineering out human error, Dr. Tompkins concludes that by using Steripath, Stanford Health Care could:

  • Impact inappropriate antibiotic usage
  • Improve correct diagnoses
  • Minimize patient discomfort
  • Reduce hospital-acquired infections related to extended stays[1]


“Our results confirm those of Dr. Mark Rupp, whose seminal Steripath study clearly demonstrated that the ISDD is the most effective way to reduce, and even eliminate, blood culture contamination,” Tompkins adds. “As a result of our experience with the Steripath, we join others in promoting the goal to establish a new standard of zero for blood culture contamination.”


Stanford Health Care has now adopted Steripath for phlebotomy use hospital-wide.



  1. Tompkins, L., et al.: “Getting to Zero: Eliminating Blood Culture Contamination with an Initial Specimen Diversion Device.” IDWeek (2020) and PACCARB (2021)