Hypothesis: The success of an educational program in July 1999 that lowered the catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) rate in our intensive care unit (ICU) 3-fold is correlated with compliance with "best-practice" behaviors. Design: Before-after trial. Setting: Surgical ICU in a referral hospital. Patients: A random sample underwent bedside audits of central venous catheter care (n= 187). All ICU admissions during a 39-month period (N=4489) were prospectively followed for bacteremia. Interventions: On the basis of audit results in December 2000, a behavioral intervention was designed to improve compliance with evidenced-based guidelines of central venous catheter management. Main Outcome Measures: Compliance with practices known to decrease CRBSI. Secondary outcome was CRBSI rate on all ICU patients. Results: Multiple deficiencies were identified on bedside audits 18 months after the previous educational program. After the implementation of a separate behavioral intervention in July 2001, a second set of bedside audits in December 2001 demonstrated improvements in documenting the dressing date (11% to 21%; P<.001) and stop-cock use (70% to 24%; P<.001), whereas nonsignificant trends were observed in hand hygiene (17% to 30%; P>.99) and maximal sterile barrier precautions (50% to 80%; P=.29). Appropriate practice was observed before and after the behavioral intervention in catheter site placement, dressing type, absence of antibiotic ointment, and proper securing of central venous catheters. Thirty-two CRBSIs occurred in 9353 catheter-days 24 months before the behavioral intervention compared with 17 CRBSIs in 6152 catheter-days during the 15 months after the intervention (3.4/1000 to 2.8/1000 catheter-days; P=.40). Conclusions: Although a previous educational program decreased the CRBSI rate, this was associated with only modest compliance with best practice principles when bedside audits were performed 18 months later. A behavioral intervention improved all identified deficiencies, leading to a nonsignificant decrease in CRBSIs.