John W. Beard, Antra Sethi, Weiqi Jiao, Hayden W. Hyatt, Halit O. Yapici, Mary Erslon & Frank J. Overdyk (2023) Cost savings through continuous vital sign monitoring in the medical-surgical unit, Journal of Medical Economics, 26:1, 760-768, DOI: 10.1080/13696998.2023.2219156
This study aimed to determine the potential cost-savings for implementing continuous vital sign monitoring in a hospital’s medical-surgical units.
A cost-savings analysis was designed to calculate potential cost-savings for an average-sized U.S. community hospital (153 total beds) over a 1-year time horizon. Analysis parameters were extracted from national databases and previous studies that compared outcomes for patients receiving continuous vital sign monitoring (SpO2, HR, and RR) or standard of care (intermittent vital sign measurements) in medical-surgical units based on a targeted literature review. Clinical parameters and associated costs served as analysis inputs. The analysis outputs were costs and potential cost-savings using a 50% and 100% adoption rate of continuous monitoring technologies across the medical-surgical unit.
Potential annual cost-savings for in-hospital medical-surgical stays were estimated at $3,414,709 (2022 USD) and $6,829,418 for a 50% and 100% adoption rate, respectively. The cost-savings for an adoption rate of 100% equated to a ∼14% reduction in the overall annual cost of medical-surgical unit stays for an average-sized hospital. The largest contribution to potential cost-savings came from patients that avoided serious adverse events that require transfer to the intensive care unit; this resulted in annual cost-savings from reduced average length of stay between $1,756,613 and $3,513,226 (50% and 100% adoption rate, respectively). Additional cost-savings can be attained from reductions in in-hospital cardiac arrest-associated hospitalizations and decreased rapid response team activation.
Our findings demonstrate that there is the potential for cost-savings of over $6.8 million dollars per year in an average-sized US community hospital by improving patient outcomes through implementation of continuous monitoring technologies in medical-surgical units. Continuous vital sign monitoring technologies that increase patient mobility and facilitate recovery may further contribute to cost-savings and should be considered for economic analyses. Future research is needed to explore these health-related outcomes.