Background Patient safety in an acute care setting is a high priority, yet medication errors still occur at an alarming rate. Prefilled syringe (PFS) have been shown to reduce adverse medication errors, but they remain poorly adopted for acute care settings – the higher initial cost of PFS possibly being a limiting factor. Exploring the connection between initial cost and cost effectiveness may help highlight overall cost savings in the acute care setting and help bridge the gap to increased patient safety.
Purpose This research aims to review and summarise, for the first time, the literature for PFS drug administration affecting an acute care setting compared to conventional vial/syringe in three key areas: patient safety, supply costs, and time and motion.
Material and methods This work reviewed the current literature to identify cost impact differences between PFS and vials/ampules for cost of supplies, preparation/dosing time, cost per adverse medical event and drug waste across acute care drugs. These findings were summarised to create a resource for acute care settings and help identify areas of greatest impact.
Results The greatest impact on reducing costs lay in a reported aggregate 22.4% reduction in medication errors when using PFS compared to vials. A reduction was also noted in preparation time between the two methods, resulting in a ∼49% reduction in labour costs for PFS. While PFS require fewer administration supplies, the PFS administration cost was reported to be higher than the vial/syringe due to the higher initial device cost. In contrast, one study following operating room drug waste suggested cost parity or potential long-term savings in supply costs when drug wastage is factored in, especially for high-cost drugs.
Conclusion PFS have an initial higher cost compared to vial and syringe, but these costs are easily offset in the acute care setting by reducing patient adverse event rates, nursing time and potentially reducing drug waste. With an overall institutional savings for PFS compared to vial and syringe, and increased patient safety, PFS should be an attractive product for acute care settings.
References and/or acknowledgements 1. Madziala, M.et al. Pre-filled syringe as an option for drug delivery in emergency medicine. Dis Emerg Med J 2017;2:98–9.
Conflict of interest Corporate-sponsored research or other substantive relationships: Becton Dickinson.
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