AAMI News November 2015

Helping Smart Pump Technology Deliver on Its Promise

Smart PumpIntravenous (IV) smart pumps have the potential to reduce adverse drug events and medication administration errors; however, research has shown that IV infusions continue to cause 54% of adverse drug events, 56% of medication errors, and 61% of serious and life-threatening errors. According to articles published in the fall 2015 issue of AAMI’s Horizons, overriding and manually bypassing key safety features of IV smart pumps often is to blame.

Smart pumps are programmed with a built-in drug library and dose error reduction system to protect patients from programming errors by checking inputted information against approved safe dosing ranges.

Simply having these safety features on a pump is not enough to protect against infusion programming errors, according to a paper by three Baxter Healthcare Corp. employees: Tim Hoh, RPh, senior manager of medical affairs; Idal Beer, MD, medical director of medical affairs; and Pamela Krueger, senior manager of marketing communications.

In their case study, titled “Ensuring Optimal Smart Pump Use through Augmented User Interface,” the group wrote: “The drug library is the defining smart pump safety feature. It is what differentiates smart pumps from their predecessors. If a user programs the pump outside of the drug library, it is no safer than programming an infusion pump circa 1999.”

According to Karen K. Giuliano, PhD, RN, postdoctoral fellow at the Yale University School of Nursing, in her article “IV Smart Pumps: The Impact of a Simplified User Interface on Clinical Use,” one solution to this problem is using innovation to make currently available devices easier to use.

“In an era when people in the United States upgrade their smartphones every one to two years, it has been almost 20 years since most IV smart pump device manufacturers have substantially upgraded their basic device designs,” Giuliano wrote.

She emphasized that technology is currently available to make IV smart pumps “smarter and safer.”

More about Infusion System Safety

AAMI members can read the full versions of these articles, as well as case studies and other perspectives, in the fall 2015 issue of Horizons. In this issue—Infusion System Safety: Are We on the Right Path?—experts provide insights on improving the design and functionality of infusion pumps and systems.