Intravenous pump review: Smart intravenous pump technology

Safety IV catheter

Intravenous literature: Manrique-Rodreguez, S., Sanchez-Galindo, A., Fernandez-Llamazares, C.M., Lopez-Herce, J., Echarri-Martanez, L., Escudero-Vilaplana, V., Sanjuro-Sanez, M. and Carrillo-Alvarez, A. (2011) Smart pump alerts: All that glitters is not gold. International Journal of Medical Informatics. Nov 9. .


INTRODUCTION: The implementation of smart pump technology can reduce the incidence of errors in the administration of intravenous drugs. This approach involves developing drug libraries for specific units and setting hard and soft limits for each drug. If a programming error occurs and these limits are exceeded, an alarm sounds and the infusion can be blocked. A detailed analysis of these alarms is essential in order not to bias the results in favor of a positive impact of this technology.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the results of the first analysis of the use of smart infusion pumps and to assess the significance and practical implications of the alarms sounded.

METHODS: The study was performed by a multidisciplinary team that consisted of a clinical pharmacist, a pediatrician from the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and the chief nurse of the unit. A library of 108 drugs was developed over a 7-month period and introduced into 40 syringe pumps and 12 volumetric pumps (Alaris(®) with Plus software) before being applied in 6 of the 11 beds in the PICU. After four month’s use, data were analyzed using the Guardrails(®) CQI v4.1 Event Reporter program.

RESULTS: Following the first four months of implementation, compliance with the drug library was 87%. By analyzing the alerts triggered, we were able to detect problems such as the need to increase user training, readjust limits that did not correspond to clinical practice, correct errors in the editing of the drug library and including a training profile.

CONCLUSION: It is difficult to obtain accurate data on the true impact of this technology in the early stages of its implementation. This preliminary analysis allowed us to identify improvement measures to distinguish, in future evaluations, the alarms triggered by a real programming error from those caused by incorrect use.

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