The economic value of wound care therapies must be well understood in order to properly manage wounds. Prevention of injury and prevention of recurrence are top priorities since the total cost of treating chronic and difficult wounds is high. Patients, caregivers and payors all share an interest in economic factors effecting treatment decisions.
Wound care involves direct costs in dressings, ancillary supplies, equipment, medications, treatments and other interventions, and staff time. Indirect costs include quality of life costs, opportunity costs for patients and caregivers, and costs such as litigation. Economic value needs to be measured against the goals of treatment.
NPWT for vacuum assisted drainage has been shown to reduce expenses through reduced dressing changes and reduced nursing time associated with dressing changes. In addition, less time required for dressing changes may enable patient transfer to lower cost treatment settings. When correctly applied to draining wounds, healing times may be reduced, and the wound may be prepared for earlier closure.
Reimbursement rules for NPWT must be carefully taken into account to determine qualification for coverage.