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HSR&D 2004 National Meeting Abstracts

2026. Cost Analysis of Technology to Prevent Back Injury in Patient Handling
Kris Siddharthan, PhD, Patient Safety Center of Injury, James A. Haley VAMC, A Nelson, Patient Safety Center of Injury, James A. Haley VAMC, H Tiesman, University of Iowa, FF Chen, Patient Safety Center of Injury, James A. Haley VAMC

Objectives: The Patient Safety Center of Inquiry in VISN 8 recently completed a study on the effectiveness of a Safe Patient Handling and Movement Program to reduce incidence and severity of injury to caregivers in handling patients. Key program elements were clinical algorithms, handling equipment and a No Lift Policy. Units targeted for intervention and at high-risk for caregiver injury included Spinal Cord Injury and Nursing Home Care Units.

Methods: Starting January 2001, patient handling equipment was installed in 23 Nursing Home Care and Spinal Cord Injury units with 780 nursing staff. An eighteen-month pre/post intervention observational study revealed this intervention aided both patients and their handlers. Elements used in the cost benefit analysis included the cost of capital equipment, cost of sick leave and restricted time for injured employees, cost of their medical care and workers compensation payments. Administrative databases such as Decision Support System (DSS) and WCMIS (Workers Compensation Management Information System) were used in the analysis.

Results: After adjusting for FTEs and hours worked the injury rate decreased 31 %, absenteeism declined 18% and workers compensation costs fell from $173,763 to $35,200. Savings due to the intervention was estimated at $300,000 per year resulting in a pay back period of the initial investment at 2.86 years not counting the indirect benefits associated with reduced injury to staff and patients and increased patient satisfaction.

Impact: Supported by the Veterans Health Administration, New Program Initiatives and the VHA Medical Centers in VISN 8.