Thursday, August 4, 2011

Against cool stethoscope placement

Objective
To determine whether the “cool” or circumcervical placement of the stethoscope when not in use is as efficacious as the traditional placement in terms of transfer time to the functional position.

Methods
Measurement of time taken by 100 health care professionals in each group to transfer stethoscope to functional position.

Results and interpretation
The cool group was much slower than the traditional group, despite their younger years. This wasted time could translate into a substantial financial burden on Canada's health care system. ...

Assuming that 80% of these health care practitioners use the cool position and each of them uses his or her stethoscope 20 times on average per day, or 4800 times per year, then the time wasted per year could be as much as 273 869 hours (71.32 х 0.8 х 5200). At an average hourly earning of $75, the annual cost would be approximately $20.5 million. With the current shortage of health care resources, it might be advisable for the respective provincial ministries of health to consider appointing “stethoscope police” to enforce a return to the traditional placement. We do have some concerns, however, that the costs generated by the resultant bureaucracy would negate any positive financial benefit to the health care system.

Traditional


Cool

--William Hanley and Anthony Hanley, "The efficacy of stethoscope placement when not in use: traditional versus 'cool'," Canadian Medical Association Journal. HT: AL