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What is the Cost of Measuring a Blood Pressure?

Published on: 11th October, 2018

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 7893702194

Rationale: Blood Pressure measurement has transitioned to the oscillometric method in most hospitals in the United States, however out-patient offices mainly use the auscultatory technique. Objective: To determine time taken to measure blood pressure by an automatic oscillometric device compared to an auscultatory measurement device and to determine what each measurement costs. Methods: Blood Pressures were measured in a single primary care office by medical assistants (MA) for patients seen for office visits. Timed measurements were performed using an automated oscillometric Welch Allyn Connex Vital Signs Monitor (WA) and manually using a Tycos device. A minimum of 400 readings were taken with each method. Results: The average time to manually measure BP was 58.6 seconds, whereas the WA average was 39.8 seconds, 18.8 seconds faster (p<0.05). There was an improvement in measurement time with MA experience with the WA device (p<0.05). The average MA cost to measure a single BP using the manual method was $0.35 vs. the WA method ($0.24) or a savings of $0.11 per measurement. The improvement with experience of WA method reduced cost to $0.17 per measurement. Conclusion: The oscillometric method saved 17cents per measurement potentially saving $1,119 per year for our primary care practice.
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