Mass General's COVID-19 testing pods saved money, boosted test capacity, study finds

Air-filtered personal protection booths called hexapods developed and used by Mass General Brigham in Boston during COVID-19 testing led to cost savings, decreased use of personal protective equipment and increased testing capacity, a study published in JAMA Network Open found. 

The health system designed the hexapods early in the COVID-19 pandemic and began using them April 16, 2020, to protect healthcare workers and patients during COVID-19 testing. 

The cost per day of gloves, gowns and consumable supplies used in the hexapods calculated and scaled by the number of daily tests. The study, published July 20, found the hexapods resulted in lower net PPE costs, at $1.98 before implementation and $0.36 at 245 tests per day after implementation. 

Before using the hexapods, the maximum testing capacity Mass General Brigham had was 54 tests over a nine-hour period, with one patient scheduled every 10 minutes. After implementation of the hexapods, testing capacity increased to 93 tests, a 72 percent increase. The maximum number of tests conducted over a nine-hour period was 245, a 354 percent increase. 

The increase in testing capacity lowered the personal cost per test from $28.78 to $18.18 at 93 tests per day and $6.90 at 245 tests per day. 

The hexapods also resulted in a decrease in disposable gown use of 93.5 percent at 93 tests per day and 97.6 percent at 245 tests per day, as the staff member who obtained the swab sample didn't have to change gowns between patients. 

The researchers found that overall, the hexapods were associated with cost savings, decreased use of PPE and increased testing capacity. 

Read the full study here


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