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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2000 Apr-Jun;4(2):151-5.

Justification of pulse oximeter costs for paramedic prehospital providers.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the potential cost savings of decreasing prehospital oxygen utilization by using pulse oximetry to identify those patients who do not require supplemental oxygen.

METHODS:

A prospective, controlled trial was performed comparing rates of oxygen utilization by paramedics with and without access to pulse oximetry. Consecutive patient encounters over a ten-week period were randomized by day of presentation. Pulse oximeters were made available on alternate days. On those days, patients whose oxygen saturations were less than 95% were treated with supplemental oxygen.

RESULTS:

The use of pulse oximeters incurred a saving of 0.14 "D"-size oxygen cylinders per call. For the authors' service, this translates to a potential saving of $2,324 (C)/vehicle/year.

CONCLUSION:

For regions with patient demographics similar to the authors', the initial cost of providing paramedics with pulse oximeters may be offset by savings in oxygen consumption. A formula is provided to allow individual ambulance services to calculate the potential savings for their service.

PMID:
10782604
DOI:
10.1080/10903120090941425
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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