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Developing and evaluating an intervention to improve care and reduce costs of rabies postexposure therapy

an observational quality improvement initiative in selected vaccination units in Sri Lanka

Gamalathge, Pushpa U. MD1,2; Carter, Hannah E. PhD1; Wimalaratne, Omala MD3; Kularatne, Sanjeewa PhD1

International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare: September 2019 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 157–163
doi: 10.1097/XEB.0000000000000172

Background: Exposure to the rabies virus is fatal unless a patient is treated with a timely, accurate and complete administration of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). The level of adherence to PEP guidelines by health service providers is therefore critical in providing high-quality care as well as preventing unnecessary costs.

Methods: We developed a simple user-friendly decision aid based on Sri Lankan national guidelines for the administration of PEP and trialed it over a 5-month period in three study settings. Pre and post levels of adherence to the national guidelines by service providers was measured in each setting. Changes to per patient cost for rabies medications and hospital admissions were also collected.

Results: A significant improvement in adherence to the guidelines was observed in two settings with a nonsignificant improvement observed in the third setting. We estimated a total cost saving of LKR 158 476 across the three sites, comprising LKR 14 418 in admissions cost savings and LKR 144 058 in medication savings.

Conclusion: We conclude that the development of a decision aid for the administration of PEP is likely to be an effective and cost-saving intervention in the Sri Lankan setting. Further research is required to inform the generalizability of our findings.

1Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

2Ministry of Health

3Department of Rabies and Vaccine Quality Control, Medical Research Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Correspondence: Pushpa U. Gamalathge, MD, Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. E-mail:

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Online date: June 22, 2019

International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare © 2019 The Joanna Briggs Institute
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