Sponsored Content | Case Study | Contrast Media Injectors | March 06, 2018

The Power In Prefilled Syringes

How TriHealth Improved Workflow and Patient Care With Prefilled Syringes

TriHealth in Cincinnati

TriHealth in Cincinnati.

GU12171120

The continuing search for advantages to improve workflow has radiology departments constantly searching for new solutions. While some, such as advanced operating systems and computer-aided diagnostics, can require a significant investment in terms of equipment expense or additional training, there is also a simple solution that can help healthcare professionals save steps in the administration of safe and effective care without added complication: prefilled contrast syringes.

Not only do these syringes help streamline computed tomography (CT) procedures, they can simplify supply orders, improve procedural safety, reduce prep time, minimize waste, boost technologist morale and enhance overall patient care.

“I’ve been a CT tech for almost 20 years, and have worked extensively with different power injectors and syringes. To me, it was always very cumbersome and I remember thinking, ‘Why isn’t the contrast already in the syringe?’ And that was how I felt 20 years ago,” remarked Don Owens, director of imaging at TriHealth in Cincinnati.

In Owens’ opinion, switching to prefilled syringes was an opportunity to make an important change to radiology at TriHealth. “We had about 40 techs, and we surveyed them about the injectors we were using at the time. We asked them if they thought the loading of the injectors is safe. Is it efficient? Is it user-friendly? Using an answer scale of strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree, we saw a lot of disagrees and undecideds,” Owens reported. “After we converted to prefilled syringes, the responses changed to mostly strongly agrees, with just a couple of agrees. It was a huge tech satisfier,” Owens said. “It completely eliminated this multi-step process where you have to get all these different supplies, and it decreased the time you spent doing that. It gives the technologist more meaningful time with the patient where they’re not fiddling around with taking the lid off a bottle and putting a straw in. After we switched, not a single tech said, ‘Wait, I want to go back to the old way.’”

Owens also observed and recorded the time technologist staff spent on contrast administration, both prior to and while using prefilled syringes. Pre-conversion, the median preparation time was about 90 seconds, but ranged from 60 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the technologist.

“After we went to the prefilled [syringes], it was 30 seconds. The workflow discrepancy was completely eliminated, and everyone’s workflow was the same,” reported Owens.

With 23 imaging facilities housing 19 CT scanners and 17 MRI scanners, the operation at TriHeath required a complex ordering system and inventory prior to the conversion. Owens felt that managing the inventory required for manually filling the syringes was no longer worth the cost savings. “Our previous injectors each used different syringes, so when we ran out of syringes for an injector, we couldn’t just use our other inventory of syringes. We needed much more space to store things and the sheer number of products and inventory was difficult to manage. After we switched to LF injectors and prefilled syringes, we are seeing syringe compatibility with all the injectors and it’s very easy for just-in-time ordering.”

Efficiency isn’t the only factor in choosing prefilled syringes, as the current medical environment demands the utmost in safety and sterility. Radiology technologists prioritize the patients’ experience and overall health as they work to secure a sterile imaging environment. Using prefilled syringes reduces the risk of contamination and also eliminates the possibility of accidental spills that comes with manually filling syringes.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for risk there,” explained Owens. “Using prefilled syringes, there’s no risk. It’s already in the container, and if you drop it, the plastic container doesn’t typically shatter. I can’t tell you how many of the old glass bottles slipped out of my hands before we switched. The glass shatters and there’s contrast everywhere. Or you pop the lid off, take a plastic straw and put it in the contrast, hook it on the injector and you pull the contrast up. Anything could happen there.

“Using prefilled syringes takes away all the risk that comes with using a multi-dose vial. The idea of using a multi-dose vial is not attractive in the eyes of our Infection Prevention, Joint Commission and Department of Health teams,” he continued. “All sorts of red flags are going off for them. Though there isn’t a formal Joint Commission statement about it, we are always commended by them about using prefilled contrast syringes because there’s less chance of errors.”

Tying overall staff engagement and improved patient satisfaction to prefilled syringes may not be a clear connection, but Owens’ surveys show the impact that prefilled syringes make. All of his users agreed that the prefilled syringes helped them save time and reduce risk. Instead of dedicating their efforts to manually filling syringes, they were able to refocus their energy on patient care.

Owens finished by saying, “We did a survey. They felt it’s a safer practice. They felt it made their work more efficient. They felt it was easier to use. All of those things make your job easier, and so why wouldn’t they be happier?”

Case study supplied by Guerbet.

Related Content

An example of a CT coronary artery calcium scoring exam showing how each vessel segment is scored to assess a patient's risk for a future heart attack. Example is from Canon Medical Systems.

An example of a CT coronary artery calcium scoring exam showing how each vessel segment is scored to assess a patient's risk for a future heart attack. Example is from Canon Medical Systems.

News | Cardiac Imaging | September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020 — A study out of University Hospitals (UH) found that removing the cost barrier for coronary arter
New research from King's College London has found that COVID-19 may be diagnosed on the same emergency scans intended to diagnose stroke.

Canon Medical Systems

News | Cardiac Imaging | September 22, 2020
September 22, 2020 — New research from King's College London has
Philips Azurion Lung Edition supports high precision diagnosis and minimally invasive therapy in one room
News | Lung Imaging | September 21, 2020
September 21, 2020 — Philips introduced...
Figure 1. Doppler flows in subpleural consolidation shows smoothly dilated branching arteries

Figure 1. Doppler flows in subpleural consolidation shows smoothly dilated branching arteries 

Feature | Radiology Imaging | September 17, 2020 | By Robert Bard, M.D. PC, DABR, FASLM
COVID-19 is routinely studied using...
Through computed tomography (CT) imaging, WVU geologist James Lamsdell led a team that found evidence of air breathing in a 340 million-year-old sea scorpion, or eurypterid. This is one of the scans of the specimen

Through computed tomography (CT) imaging, WVU geologist James Lamsdell led a team that found evidence of air breathing in a 340 million-year-old sea scorpion, or eurypterid. This is one of the scans of the specimen. Image courtesy of James Lamsdell

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 11, 2020
September 11, 2020 — Scientists have long debated the respiratory workings of sea scorpions, but a new discovery by a
The solution leverages image transfer speed, tag morphing, and multi-vendor PACS capabilities to enable comprehensive image visualization and analysis at the point of care
News | Breast Imaging | September 03, 2020
September 3, 2020 — Based on its recent analysis of the global breast imaging workstation industry, Frost & Sulli
the Contrast Media Injectors Market is estimated to be USD 1.3 billion in 2020 and  projected to reach $1.9B by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.4% between 2020 and 2025

Getty Images

News | Contrast Media Injectors | September 02, 2020
September 2, 2020 — According to the new market research report "...