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Establishing an ultrasound-guided vascular access program: A powerful tool for patient care

por Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | March 22, 2022

HCB News: Are these types of programs common in U.S. hospitals?
RF: In terms of program adoption across the board, my sense is that many of the country’s leading institutions have an ultrasound-guided vascular access program in place, but ultrasound-guided peripheral IV placement remains an area of opportunity for most hospitals or clinics. I know eminent institutions like Cedars-Sinai and Northwestern have embraced them enthusiastically, but different institutions come to it in different ways. First off, these are typically nurse-led initiatives. At some mid-sized institutions, it may start off with training one or two vascular access experts in the use of ultrasound to place peripheral IVs for chemotherapy patients, patients who have used IV drugs, or patients whose anatomy make the placement challenging. In at least a few hospitals I know about, the surging demand for that expertise prompted them to train more nurses in the process. Bigger hospitals and health systems may enlist industry partners like us who can help with technology, training, and customer best practices to create a system-wide plan for adoption; such partnerships often come with a set training plan and support with program operation, guidelines, and measurement.

HCB News: How would you advise people to advocate for a program like this at their hospital?
RF: That advocacy may take a different form depending on the size and orientation of the hospital. But a program like this should be a no-brainer. It just checks all the boxes: it’s a commonsense way to reduce pain and fear for patients, it empowers staff and enables them to use their time more efficiently, and it saves the hospital money. It’s very rewarding to see a program that is great for patients and improves bottom line results.

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