Implementation of a vascular access specialist team in a tertiary hospital: a cost-benefit analysis

Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2023 Sep 16;21(1):67. doi: 10.1186/s12962-023-00464-6.


Background: The use of peripherally inserted central catheters and midline catheters is growing due to their potential benefits. These devices can increase patient safety and satisfaction while reducing the use of resources. As a result, many hospitals are establishing vascular access specialist teams staffed by nurses who are trained in the insertion and maintenance of these catheters. The objective of the study is to evaluate previously to the implementation whether the benefits of introducing ultrasound-guided peripheral venous catheters, midline catheters and peripherally inserted central catheters compared to current practice by a vascular access specialist team outweigh their costs.

Methods: Cost-benefit analysis from the perspective of the healthcare provider based on administrative data. The study estimates the reduction in resources used when changing the current practice for the use of ultrasound-guided midline and PICC catheters, as well as the additional resources required for their use.

Results: The use of an ultrasound-guided device on peripherally inserted central carheter, results in a measurable resource reduction of approximately €31. When 3 peripheral venous catheters are replaced by an ultrasound-guided peripherally inserted central catheter, the saving is €63. Similarly, the use of an ultrasound-guided device on a midline catheter, results in a reduction of €16, while each ultrasound-guided midline catheter replacing 3 peripheral venous catheters results in a reduction of €96.

Conclusion: The benefits of using ultrasound-guided midline and PICC catheters compared to current practice by introducing a vascular access specialist team trained in the implantation of ultrasound-guided catheters, outweigh its cost mainly because of the decrease in hospital stay due to the lowered risk of phebitis. These results motivate the implementation of the service, adding to previous experience suggesting that it is also preferable from the point of view of patient safety and satisfaction.

Keywords: Catheters; Cost benefit analysis; Economic evaluation; Healthcare-associated infections; Nursing care; Peripheral venous catheters; Peripherally inserted Central Catheter; Ultrasound.