University of Arizona Study Estimates Cost Avoidances from Reducing IV Preparation Errors

Posted on October 23, 2014

By Craig A. Boyce, RPh

Current IV compounding is still largely based on human manual processes and visual inspection, where the safety of a dose depends on the how well staff follow proper technique.  This manual processing is complex and while pharmacies rely on visual inspections and checks during dose preparations, errors can still find their way to patients.

To provide a better understanding of the impact of errors, a study was conducted at the University of Arizona in Phoenix that focused on IV preparation errors and how IV automation could reduce the incidence and cost associated with these errors.  The study references 62 peer-reviewed articles documenting IV preparation error rates and their costs.  A probability pathway simulation was developed to model IV preparation processes and, using published error rates, generates a distribution of possible error outcomes, their probability, and associated costs.  A significant feature of this simulation is the number of iterations which allows different combinations of variables to demonstrate the number of possible errors and associated costs.    Using average values for the variable inputs, the 1000-iteration simulation found that 5,420 IV preparation errors could be prevented using IV automation and avoid $288,350 in related costs per year.

The study, entitled ”Estimated Cost Savings from Reducing Errors in the Preparation of Sterile Doses of Medications”  is authored by Terry F. Urbine, Associate Research Scientist and Assistant Professor, and Philip J. Schneider, MS, FASHP, Professor and Associate Dean Colleges of Pharmacy and Public Health, University of Arizona, and was published in the September 2014 issue of Hospital Pharmacy, a monthly peer reviewed journal, that is practitioner-focused and dedicated to the promotion of safe medication practice.

For a more in-depth analysis of this study, please visit the IHSRIVA blog again in the next week or two.


Craig A. Boyce is a pharmacist on staff at Intelligent Hospital Systems, designer and manufacturer of RIVA a Fully Automated IV Compounding System

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