Optimizing smart infusion pump technology by increasing critical safety alerts

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“By revising drug library limits for specific medications, it was possible to decrease the number of less clinically meaningful alerts, reduce alert fatigue, and thereby increase the effectiveness of the smart infusion pumps” Mansfield et al (2015).

Reference:

Mansfield, J. and Jarrett, S. (2015) Optimizing smart pump technology by increasing critical safety alerts and reducing clinically insignificant alerts. Hospital Pharmacy. 50(2), p.113-7.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Alerts generated by intravenous (IV) infusion pump safety software prevent life-threatening situations that might otherwise go unnoticed. However, when alerts are often clinically insignificant, health care workers may become desensitized and discount their importance, resulting in potentially dangerous situations. Little research has been devoted to visual alert desensitization.

METHOD:This paper describes how the Carolinas HealthCare System decreased the number of nonclinically relevant infusion pump alerts by analyzing alert data that were formatted into scatter plots. This in turn enabled the identification of the medications associated with the most meaningful alerts and those associated with the least meaningful alerts.

CONCLUSION: By revising drug library limits for specific medications, it was possible to decrease the number of less clinically meaningful alerts, reduce alert fatigue, and thereby increase the effectiveness of the smart infusion pumps. This added another layer of safety to patient care.

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