Costs of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia in Australia: A cost-of-illness study

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Journal Article
Collegian, 2020, 27, (4), pp. 345-351
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Background: A definitive cost analysis of preventing inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) in surgical patients in Australia is lacking. Preventing IPH is a common nurse-led initiative in surgery and cost savings represent the value of nursing care. Aim: The study aims are twofold. First, we aim to estimate the cost of the current prevalence of IPH in Australian hospitals. Second, is to estimate the potential cost reductions that could be realised by reducing IPH prevalence by using a thermal care bundle. Methods: Cost-of-illness analysis measures the economic burden of illness to society. It does so by identifying and measuring all costs of a disease or illness such as IPH. It was undertaken using a prevalence approach and a one-year time horizon. Findings: The annual costs of IPH to the Australian health system can be estimated to be $1,259,725,856. The annual net benefit of IPH prevention to the Australian health system is $602 million. Using a thermal care bundle to reduce IPH by actively warming 80% of the patients that are not warmed yet could save $657.1 million per year at the expense of $18.4 million. Discussion: Preventing IPH using active warming is estimated to lead to significant cost savings across the Australian health system. It is recommended that a national policy for preventing IPH is needed and guidelines must reflect up-to-date strategies for preventing IPH including active prewarming. Conclusion: The Thermal Care Bundle should be adopted to lower IPH incidence and associated costs in Australia.
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