Highlights
  • The first in-depth global study on underresearched facets of VAT initiatives.

  • VA professionals interviewed universally endorsed the benefits of specialized VATs.

  • Participants reported improvements in patient satisfaction and clinical efficiency.

  • Nonclinical personnel on VATs can alleviate barriers to data collection or analysis.

  • Collaborations, data tracking, and outcomes dissemination can serve as VAT metrics.

Abstract

Background: Specialized vascular access training for medical professionals organized into vascular access teams (VATs) was shown to improve patient outcomes, clinical efficiency, and cost savings. Professional perspectives on VAT benefits, organization, challenges, and opportunities on a global scale remain inadequately explored. Using detailed perspectives, in this study, we explored the global VAT landscape, including challenges faced, clinical and clinico-economic impacts of VATs, with emphasis on underresearched facets of VAT initiation, data dissemination, and metrics or benchmarks for VAT success.

Methods: Semistructured in-depth interviews of 14 VAT professionals from 9 countries and 5 continents were used to elicit qualitative and quantitative information.

Results: Catheter insertions (100%) and training (86%) were the most performed VAT functions. Based on a 1–7 scale evaluating observed impacts of VATs, patient satisfaction (6.5) and institutional costs (6.2) were ranked the highest. VAT co-initiatives, advanced technology utilization (6.6), and ongoing member training (6.3) distinctly impacted VAT endeavors. Most institutions (64%) did not have routine mechanisms for recording VAT-related data; however, all participants (100%) stated the importance of sharing data to demonstrate VAT impacts. Time constraints (57%) emerged as one of the major deterrents to data collection or dissemination. The majority (64%) experienced an increased demand or workload for VAT services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusions: Despite the global variances in VATs and gaps in VAT-related data, all participants unanimously endorsed the benefits of VAT programs. Evaluating the impact of VATs, disseminating VAT-related data, and forging specialized institutional partnerships for data sharing and training are potential strategies to tackle the hurdles surrounding VAT formation and sustenance.

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