Med One Blog

3 Preventable Infusion Pump Problems

3 Preventable Infusion Pump Problems

Advancements in technology have made our hospitals and medical facilities much safer. However, when human behavior is added into the mix, this can derail even the best efforts to improve patient safety. In many cases, human error is to blame for some of the most prevalent problems with infusion pumps. Let's take a closer look at three common problems with this type of hospital equipment and how they can easily be prevented.

Dosage Errors

Smart pumps have made dosage errors a lot less likely, which has led to their increase in popularity. As of 2013, 72.9% of all U.S. hospitals were using smart infusion pumps (a stark increase from just five years prior), and their popularity has only grown since then. However, this technology is not completely infallible. While there are several safety mechanisms in place that can prevent a great number of infusion errors, these mechanisms can sometimes be overridden by staff members.

To prevent accidental or willful infusion programming mishaps, staff members must be trained on an ongoing basis and proper procedures must be followed at all times. It's imperative that protocol is followed in those instances to prevent potential harm to a patient.

Improper Equipment Cleaning

Pump cleaning procedures like on the Sigma Spectrum need to be accurately followed on a regular basis. It's not only about the physical cleaning itself; it may also come down to how a given device is transported and whether those methods could potentially be unsafe.

Ultimately, preventing these mistakes comes down to following all manufacturer recommendations and facility regulations for pump cleaning and the cleaning of all other instruments. Proper training on the specific pump as the Sigma Spectrum plays a key role as well, as does replacing outdated equipment in a timely manner.

Ignored Alarms

In many hospitals and other medical facilities, alarm fatigue can be a real problem. Although smart pumps and other medical devices come equipped with alarms and other warning systems as a precautionary measure to protect patients, being bombarded with too many alarms can actually cause staff members to literally tune out. As a result (and through no real fault of their own), the most important alerts may be missed.

Becoming desensitized to alarm noises can translate to lower patient and employee satisfaction, among other problems. In order to ensure patient safety, it's essential to prioritize proper training and to investigate equipment with alarm alternatives to prevent alarm overload. Developing a comprehensive alarm management system should also be a priority for these facilities to assess where the vulnerabilities may lie.

In the end, preventing problems with dosage errors, improper pump cleaning, and missed alarms often comes down to proper training and support. Having the right equipment can help to set your facility apart by improving patient safety.