Qualitative interviews and supporting evidence to identify the positive impacts of multidisciplinary vascular access teams

Background: Vascular access by means of intravenous catheters is essential for the safe, effective and cost-efficient delivery of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, nutrition and chemotherapy, but the use of these devices is not without complications.

Purpose: A faculty of multidisciplinary European vascular access team (VAT) Leads/Members and experts sought to reframe how the implementation of a VAT could have positive impacts on patients and hospitals.

Methods: Interview data from a Faculty of nine VAT Leads/Members and experts from six European countries on the impact of multidisciplinary VATs in modern healthcare were assessed. A literature search was conducted that included Medline®-cited peer-reviewed articles published in the past 10 years in order to identify impact data and post-implementation of a multidisciplinary VAT that support the benefits to patient safety and satisfaction and to hospital efficiencies reported in the interview program.

Results: While VATs vary in structure and function, clarity of purpose and supportive training and education are key. Barriers to the implementation of VATs show commonality across countries, such as lack of investment, insufficient training and lack of awareness. Proven markers of VAT success include rapid referrals, improved patient outcomes and improved organizational efficiency. Standardization of outcomes data capture, processing and reporting are key to monitoring performance against baseline. Awareness of the cost of complications arising from inappropriate choice and placement, and poor care and maintenance, of the vascular access device must be raised.

Conclusions: The implementation of VATs can positively impact patient safety and satisfaction, improve organizational efficiencies and cost-effectiveness, and could create new opportunities for in- and outpatient services, beneficial to both patients and institutions.

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