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Page 608 – Stanford Medicine X

A Quiet Epidemic: The increase of DVA patient populations in our hospitals

Eric Stone michael@cosmo-pr.com


The expanding number of Difficult Venous Access (“DVA”) patients is creating a strain on health care practitioners and hospitals, leading to inefficiencies that threaten the ability to quickly and accurately diagnose, treat and track health issues. This presentation will document the rising incidence of DVA patients, impact on patient experience and care outcomes, as well as emerging advancements that better serve this growing and important population. It will draw on a landmark multi-phase study of more than 6,500 nurses across 26 hospitals for estimated rates of DVA patients, frequency of fishing to find veins, and multiple stick attempts that will be presented publicly for the first time.

DVA patients are so-named because of suboptimal vein access due to age, frequent care-related issues, chronic diseases that require frequent hospital stays, and even obesity. Research shows this group represents about one third of patients in the U.S. overall and is growing fast.

The blood draw is a critical aspect of modern health care, as blood tests inform more than 70% of all clinical decisions. DVA patients present a greater than normal challenge in locating a vein to extract a minimum threshold of blood for testing. The result can be hemolyzed samples, delays in treatment, more frequent and painful sticks for patients, increased injury risk for nurses, and greater financial liability for hospitals.

The unique needs of this population are largely unmet because there has been little innovation in blood draw practices for more than 100 years, with the abandonment of bloodletting being the last major procedural advancement. The characterization of this groundswell of sicker, heavier, older patients has been limited in the literature, and even less thoroughly explored in clinical settings. That is rapidly changing with the emergence of new technologies like the “Ubers of blood draws ;” novel, needle-free blood draw devices; vascular access staffing modalities; and emerging compassionate standards of care that are helping to better serve this DVA population.

Attendees will learn how to identify, evaluate and implement these innovations to improve the patient experience while expanding opportunities for care. Learning objectives include:

• Document growth in DVA population using studies, research and anecdotal evidence;
• Explore impact of DVA patients in hospital environments on patient experience, practitioner experience, hospital financials, and care outcomes;
• Identify innovations in services and practices, technologies and devices, and procedures to better serve this patient segment and create new hospital care opportunities.  
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