The benefits of prefilled syringes

In anesthesia practice, ditching the vial-and-syringe technique of preparing medication doses in favor of prefilled syringes promises to save money and boost patient safety. At Mt.

In anesthesia practice, ditching the vial-and-syringe technique of preparing medication doses in favor of prefilled syringes promises to save money and boost patient safety. At Mt. Sinai in New York City, for example, buying prefilled syringes of neostigmine and ephedrine—two of the anesthetics that are among both the most expensive and the most likely to not be completely used—has almost certainly reduced waste at the facility, even if some of those savings have been eroded by the higher cost of prefilled syringes. At Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, meanwhile, prefilled syringes have "reduced our in-house compounding workload and also reduced our purchases from outsourced compounders, which can be expensive," confirms director of pharmacy, business, and finance John Fanikos. "We've been trying to make life easier for our OR nurses and physicians by providing them with prefilled syringes for odansetron, metoclopramide, dexamethasone, midazolam, and diphenhydramine, rather than have these drugs prepared from vials." The syringes are also used in inpatient units, he notes. Ethan Bryson, associate anesthesiology professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, agrees that prefilled syringes are a time-saver, citing a simulation study published online last June in the Journal of Patient Safety. Preparation time using vials took twice as long as with prefilled syringes, according to the research, which also found that medication error rates as high as 75% fell to the single digits when nurses used prefilled syringes versus vial-and-syringe methods. "Having the medication predrawn in a prelabeled syringe goes a long way to reducing the chance that someone will make a mistake," Bryson remarked.