Abstract

Approximately 4.3 million peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are placed each year. Currently, there are no national-level comparative data registries to gather information regarding PICC placement, care, or maintenance, and there are no benchmarks or quality measures for vascular access specialists. As the specialty of vascular access evolves from placing peripheral intravenous catheters and administering infusions to the placement of more advanced devices such as PICCs and other central venous access devices, the lack of national comparative data becomes more significant. Without consistent, comparative data, vascular access specialists cannot demonstrate the high level of clinical outcomes provided for patients or justify the value of the specialty to hospital administrators or third-party payers. Data collection must evolve to improve quality and show cost-effectiveness. National-level comparative data collection has been used for decades by physicians to implement quality initiatives and improve patient care. Comparative data can now easily be provided using informatics technologies like the Internet to collect and analyze data for improved clinical outcomes. Vascular access teams must begin using data registries for collecting comparative data, allowing the development of benchmarks and improved quality measures.

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