Performance Measures
Pneumonia: Bloodwork Before Antibiotics

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It affects the lower respiratory tract. This includes small bronchi (airways) and air sacs in the lungs.  There are three main causes:

  • Bacterial pneumonia - caused by bacteria, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Viral pneumonia - caused by a virus
  • Atypical bacterial pneumonia - often called "walking pneumonia," but can cause a more serious or potentially fatal pneumonia
  • Fungal infections, such as infections that are common in people with AIDS
Pneumonias are sometimes described by where it was acquired and how you were exposed to it:
  • Community-acquired pneumonia - cquired in the community (eg, at school, work, gym)
  • Nosocomial pneumonia - acquired during a hospitalization
  • Aspiration pneumonia - happens when a foreign matter (often stomach content) is inhaled

Why is this important?

Different types of bacteria can cause pneumonia. A blood culture is a test that can help your health care provider identify which bacteria may have caused your pneumonia, and which antibiotic should be prescribed.

How are we doing at providing the best care for patients who may have pneumonia?

Although a blood culture is not always needed, for patients who are first seen in the hospital Emergency Department it is important for the accuracy of the test that a blood culture be conducted before any antibiotics are started.

IP PN: Blood cultures performed in the ED prior to initial Abx received in hospital 

This graph shows the number of patients who have a diagnosis of pneumonia who had bloodwork drawn before a prescribed antibiotic was administered. Higher percentages are better.

What efforts are in place to improve performance?

We have an initiative with our Emergency department providers, nurses and phlebotomist to identify opportunities to assure 100% compliance. With this initiative we saw an increase in compliance. Each case that does not measure the standard of care is reviewed with this team for opportunities for improvement.


rev. 1-16-15