Med One Blog

3 Ways Smart Pumps Reduce Medication Errors In Healthcare Facilities

3 Ways Smart Pumps Reduce Errors

In an effort to reduce user error and keep patients safe, smart pumps are now used in a majority of healthcare facilities. In fact, while only 44% of U.S. hospitals used smart infusion pumps in 2009, approximately 72.9% of hospitals reported using them in 2013. But how exactly do Alaris infusion pumps and similar types of hospital equipment prevent errors? We briefly explain a few of their common safeguards below.

1. Alerts: Alaris infusion pumps and other smart pumps utilize soft and hard alerts, depending on the circumstances, to prevent a user from dispensing a certain medication, dosage, or rate. If a healthcare professional selects an inappropriate dosage of a drug, the pump will alert the user. Soft alerts can be overridden (which may be necessary in certain situations), but the override is logged and associated with that user ID. Hard alerts, on the other hand, cannot be overridden. Both types of alerts are designed to keep patients safe and keep staff informed of the choices they make with care.

2. Patient ID Verification: In addition to alerts, many smart pumps come equipped with barcode scanning technology to verify a patient's identity. This can ensure that the drug and dosage are appropriate for that patient. This technology works in conjunction with electronic medication administration records. In this case, both the medication and patient wristband will be scanned into the system to make certain that both the drug being administered and the patient receiving it are correct. Although we'd all like to think that medical professionals won't make mistakes like this, the truth is that with so many patients, mix-ups can happen. This kind of technology can prevent huge mishaps from occurring.

3. Drug Libraries: In Alaris infusion pumps and other types of smart pumps, programmable drug libraries work in conjunction with the other two safeguards mentioned above to reduce errors and dispense necessary information. These libraries contain the standard concentrations for commonly used medications. These libraries can also be created to reflect certain rules outlined by specific areas of practice or settings (such as critical care, pediatrics, ICUs, etc.). The included software program not only contains minimum and maximum dosage limits and rates, but it will also work with the alert system to limit adverse drug interactions. It's vital for these drug libraries to be built for a given facility (usually with help from their on-site pharmacy) before the technology is used and that training emphasizes the dangers of overriding the library information and subsequent alerts.

In conjunction with the highest-quality training, smart infusion pumps can help to significantly reduce medication errors and keep patients safe while allowing them more control over their comfort level. To find out more about using smart pumps in your healthcare facility, contact us today.