Upgrade the Patient! How AVA is Improving the Healthcare Experience for Everyone

By Ramzy Nasrallah | October 26, 2018

Clinicians are supposed to perform hand hygiene before and after every patient interaction.

They are supposed to be professionally trained in vascular access on determining the appropriate device and optimal insertion site. They are supposed to use equipment like ultrasound guidance to ensure they’re not pushing a needle into a valve – or missing the vessel entirely.

They are supposed to follow the basic principles that ensure the safest and most comfortable vascular access experience. There’s a lot of supposed to that isn’t standardized across healthcare.

Accountability is a mixed bag, and often uncovered when it’s too late for the patients, who are generally ill-equipped to understand what their expectations should be for both hand hygiene (their hands too!) and vascular access, the two most common procedures in all of healthcare.

They aren’t supposed to blame their own veins for mishaps or interruptions in therapy. They aren’t supposed to allow poorly dressed lines to sit on their bodies without sounding the alarm. They aren’t supposed to fault themselves for allowing bad outcomes.

 

Supposed to isn’t just a clinician thing. It’s a patient thing as well.

The Association for Vascular Access spent a year interviewing clinicians and patients trying to better understand how to holistically improve the experience of healthcare delivery, specifically those two ubiquitous procedures – and by far the biggest issue was patient healthcare literacy. Having a willing, knowledgeable and active partner on the opposite side of the bed rail significantly aids the success of treatment.

This seemed intuitive and achievable to us. So what about patients – what do they want?

We’re all patients. We want comfort. We’re already anxious because we require hospitalization or treatment and we just want to feel better with as little pain as possible. Infections are painful. Needle sticks are painful. Phlebitis, inflammation of a vein, is painful. Unscheduled dressing changes and line replacements are painful. The unknown is painful.

So what did AVA come up with that marries what clinicians need with what patients want – and what hospitals are after, which is superior outcomes?

 

How are we converting supposed to into reality?

We’re calling it Vicarium, the Latin singular word for vicarious, and it’s designed to accompany every patient on their healthcare journey to ensure what’s supposed to happen, happens – regardless if they’re in the hospital or already discharged.

Vicarium begins with an exercise called The Pulse, where AVA interviews hospital clinicians and administrators to understand the priorities and goals, both clinical and financial. We then build a primitive, cost-neutral and portable program for patients to take with them throughout their care. Vicarium connects best practice, expectations, education, accountability and portability – and makes it central to the patient experience.

A Vicarium facility not only upgrades its patients, it improves its clinicians. Vicarium comes with all of the benefits of AVA membership for every employee of the organization, which means better access to education, board certification. And the program is executed through a tax-deductible donation to the AVA Foundation, which advances research, innovation and education related to vascular access.

If we can achieve clinician compliance and patient vigilance round the two most-common procedures in healthcare, we could solve what has frustrated healthcare facilities for generations, by reducing infections, needle sticks, catheter complications and negative – and often fatal – outcomes.

AVA is doing something about supposed to. Let’s allow best practice to live vicariously through every patient. For more information on Vicarium, please email vicarium@avainfo.org.

Identify gaps in practice and get a better understanding for line access and dressing change bundles that help standardize best practices for post-insertion care.

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Ramzy Nasrallah

Chief Executive Officer, AVA

Ramzy Nasrallah joined the Association for Vascular Access (AVA) in 2017 as chief executive officer. Prior to joining AVA, he spent 14 years at Johnson & Johnson in both its pharmaceutical and medical device businesses. Nasrallah has extensive experience and understanding of the critical issues and opportunities surrounding vascular access and healthcare delivery in America and abroad. Nasrallah leads the mission and strategic plan for both AVA as well as the AVA Foundation.

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