The Value of Specialized, Home Infusion Nurses

May 6, 2013
New Express Scripts data show how greater use of the country's most trusted profession, specialized nurses, can cut specialty drug infusion costs in half.

Late last year when Gallup released its annual survey ranking the trustworthiness of more than 20 professions in the U.S., much was made over the list’s bottom trio – car salespeople, lobbyists and members of Congress. But we shouldn't lose sight of who sat at the top of that list. Pharmacists ranked a very respectable No. 2 for their ethics and honesty. They were edged out slightly by the most trustworthy group of professionals in the U.S.: nurses. 

Today marks the beginning of National Nurses Week. We take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of nurses we employ who help enable patients to make better decisions and achieve healthier outcomes.

Home Infusion Nursing Through Accredo

At our specialty pharmacy Accredo, we have approximately 500 field nurses who visit patients – at home, work or school – to administer specialty medications for some of the most complex disease states, such as pulmonary arterial hypertension and immune disorders.

Each of these Advanced Therapies nurses has extensive infusion experience and in-depth knowledge of their patients’ complex disease state. This level of clinical specialization provides the basis for the extensive care coordination necessary to treat these patients.

This specialization among nonphysicians also is precisely what the healthcare industry needs to ease the current bottleneck around physicians.

When Clinically Appropriate, Drug Infusion Should Be Administered in the Home

Approximately 47% of all specialty medications currently are administered within the medical benefit,  i.e., at hospitals and doctors’ offices. Whenever clinically appropriate, moving these patients and services out of the hospital and into the home would lower overall costs and reduce the chance of hospital-acquired infections – all while increasing the level of convenience and privacy for the patient.

As an example, the majority of intravenous immune globulin (IG) is infused currently at hospitals (36%) or physicians’ offices (16%). It would be clinically appropriate and more cost-effective to move nearly all of these services into the home. When IG therapy is administered by a specialized home infusion nurse instead of in the hospital, the total cost is cut in half – from nearly $12,000 per treatment in the hospital to less than $6,000 in the home.

When the most trusted profession in our country can deliver specialized, expert care at half the cost the country is currently paying, we can’t afford not to make that choice.

Author Bio

Lab Staff
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