Brief Reports

Hospitalist Experiences, Practice, Opinions, and knowledge regarding peripherally inserted central catheters: Results of a national survey



A Michigan survey found variation in hospitalist‐reported experience, practice, opinions, and knowledge related to peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). Whether these findings reflect a national trend is unknown.


To investigate self‐reported PICC practice among adult hospitalists in the United States.


Society of Hospital Medicine‐administered, anonymous, Web‐based survey of practicing, adult, non‐Michigan hospitalists.


Of the 2112 hospitalists who were sent an electronic invitation, 381 completed the online survey (18%). Eighty‐six percent of hospitalists reported having placed a PICC solely for venous access (vs specific indications such as long‐term antibiotics or parenteral nutrition). Eighty‐two percent reported having cared for a patient who specifically requested a PICC. Only 25% of hospitalists reported examining PICCs for evidence of external problems, whereas 57% admitted to having, at least once, forgotten about the presence of a PICC. Only 9% of respondents knew that PICC tip verification was performed primarily to prevent venous thromboembolism. Finally, 42% of participants indicated that 10% to 25% of PICCs placed in their hospitals might be inappropriately placed and/or avoidable.


This national survey highlights several potential opportunities to improve hospitalist PICC practices. A research agenda dedicated to this issue is necessary to improve patient safety and hospital‐based practice. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:635–638. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine

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