Cost-effective Alternative for Negative-pressure Wound Therapy

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Background:Current predominantly used equipments for negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) are expensive. In current healthcare climate continually emphasizing cost containment, importance in developing more cost-effective alternatives cannot be understated. Previously, therapeutically equivalent methods of providing NPWT was demonstrated using just low-cost, universally available supplies, coined Gauze-SUCtion (GSUC). Here, we examine long-term potential financial savings of utilizing GSUC over commercialized products.Methods:A retrospective cost analysis was performed at the University of Chicago Medical Center between 1999 and 2014. All NPWT was provided via either GSUC or commercialized vacuum-assisted closure (VAC, KCI) device. Sum of all material component costs were reviewed to determine theoretical average daily cost. For the VAC group, recorded institutional spend to KCI was also reviewed to determine actual daily cost. In the GSUC group, this figure was extrapolated using similar ratios. Labor costs for each method were determined using analysis from prior study. Patient demographics, etiology, wound location, and treatment length were also reviewed.Results:Total of 35,871 days of NPWT was provided during the 15-year span. Theoretical average cost of VAC was $94.01/d versus $3.61/d for GSUC, whereas actual average was $111.18/d versus $4.26/d. Average labor cost was $20.11/dressing change versus $12.32. Combined, total cost of VAC therapy was estimated at $119,224 per every 1,000 days of therapy versus $9,188 for the GSUC.Conclusions:There is clear and significant cost savings from utilization of GSUC method of NPWT. Furthermore, the added advantage of being able to provide NPWT from universally accessible materials cannot be overstated.

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