Quality of care and patient outcome in the ICU have both been linked to workload and staffing levels. Reducing the amount of time spent on administering intravenous antibiotics would allow healthcare workers to devote more time to other aspects of patient care. Such time savings would also cut hidden treatment costs, associated with staff time. For example, direct intravenous injection of antibiotics is time-consuming and requires highly qualified staff adding a cost of over 8 per dose when compared to the most cost-effective method.
To assess the time commitment and other non-drug costs associated with intravenous antibiotics, researchers from The Netherlands used a costing method originally developed for analysing business administrative procedures.
"Gaining insight into all the factors that contribute to the actual total overall costs of drug therapy may help increase awareness into what actually drives the costs of hospital services and to identify opportunities for cost savings", say the researchers. "Total costs of intravenous antibiotic administration are formed not only by the costs of the drugs themselves but also, to a substantial degree, but the time expended by medical and nursing staff, costs of disposable materials and overhead costs."
The research team followed the treatment of fifty patients who were suffering from community acquired pneumonia or intra-abdominal infections. They used questionnaires and interviews to create a list of 103 routine tasks that were involved in administering intravenous antibiotics to these patients. By timing each procedure they calculated the costs of utilising medical and nursing sta
Contact: Gemma Bradley