A vascular access specialist model has proven to reduce healthcare acquired complications including catheter-associated infections.1 A specialty team approach also is supported by evidence-based guidelines.2 Despite the evidence for improved patient safety, not all hospitals have a dedicated Vascular Access Specialty Team (VAST).
When starting or growing a VAST, it can be daunting to figure out where to start. Thankfully, there are clinical experts happy to share their journey to help you follow their path.
We were pleased to welcome Lee Steere RN, CRNI, VA-BC to share his journey in a three-part Wednesday Workshop series “Growing a VAST: One Step at a Time.” Lee has been leading and growing the IV Team at Hartford Hospital for nearly 20 years. At his facility, all peripheral intravenous catheters (PIV) are inserted on inpatient units by the VAST team using a bundled approach. He is the author of several peer-reviewed publications, is the principle investigator of an on-going randomized controlled trial, and has spoken at multiple local and national vascular access conferences.
Lee brings his experience and best practices to the Wednesday Workshop series, breaking down his process into 3 manageable steps:
Getting financial approval to create a VAST can take a multifaceted approach. Lee recommends improving efficiencies and adding billable services to present your team as an asset rather than a liability.
Collecting data specific to your facility is the best way to bring awareness to the need for and potential benefits of adding a VAST. DOWNLOAD the Cost Calculator to begin building your data analysis. Lee also prepared a list of CPT Codes that his facility uses to capture billable services performed by the VAST.
A growing VAST needs to stay organized and focused on progress towards the facility’s goals. A visual management board helps the team have a common location to meet, acknowledge achievements and drive improvements. Having a standard work template for each task performed keeps the team aligned on protocols and waste elimination tactics.
Having a VAST is not the end point, it must be sustained with continued quality improvement. As hospital leadership looks to eliminate costs and waste, the VAST should continue to provide value and look for new ways to work efficiently.
Continuing to collect data to look for ways to improve or ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved is an ongoing process. Lee recommends working with your vendor partners to leverage the tools and expertise available through them. One such tool is the Point Prevalence Assessment Tool that was shared as a resource during this event.
The most successful vascular access specialty teams are continuously looking for ways to maintain and improve their outcomes. Lee’s team collects and, when possible, publishes data on their initiatives. Another example was highlighted in a previous Wednesday Workshop Series where Michelle DeVries, MPH, CIC, VA-BC, CPHQ, FAPIC shared her “Jamboree” process of monitoring and collecting data on vascular access devices, dressings and securement. Elena Nelson Barber, RN, OCN, VA-BC shared ways to maximize revenue generation in your department in her webinar “Show Me the Money! Reimbursement Tactics & Monetizing Your Worth.”
Eloquest Healthcare is committed to providing solutions that can both improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary costs. We work with your institution to perform a bedside audit evaluating vascular access device sites to assess infection risk as well as opportunities for improved nurse efficiency and reduced product waste. Click HERE to request a Point Prevalence Assessment today!
- Carr, P.J., Moureau, N.L. (2019). Specialized Vascular Access Teams. In: Moureau, N. (eds) Vessel Health and Preservation: The Right Approach for Vascular Access. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03149-7_5
- Gorski LA, Hadaway L, Hagle ME, et al. Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice, 8th Edition. J Infus Nurs. 2021;44(1S Suppl 1):S1-S224. doi:10.1097/NAN.0000000000000396