4 Key Safety Features to Look for When Buying Infusion Pumps
In a study conducted by the Material Services Department at the University of Michigan Health Systems, around 86% of patients who are admitted to a hospital requires an IV infusion pump. To meet this high demand, it’s crucial for hospitals to maintain a stock of the most reliable equipment. Thus, it’s important to know which features IV infusion pumps need to have in order to deliver the highest level of care.
Infusion Pump Features
When looking at infusion pumps for sale, there are four key features you should always look for before placing an order for your facility.
- Air Detector: One of the most important safety features to look for is an air-in-line detector. This sensor is capable of detecting any air that might have made its way into the line. If and when air is found, this sensor will alert the staff so that it can be fixed without disruption of patient care. In many cases, the specific volume of air can be adjusted to account for lower dosage amounts. Regardless, this feature is critical for ensuring that no air bubbles are accidentally allowed into an infusion line.
- Battery Fail Safe: Another important feature to account for when looking at infusion pumps for sale is a backup power system. Typically, the infusion pump will be hooked into the hospital's main power system. However, in the case of a malfunction or electrical outage, it’s important to have a backup to ensure the pump continues running. For this reason, you should not only look for pumps with battery backups, but also for additional batteries to ensure you always have a fully charged stock.
- Pressure Sensors: When looking at infusion pumps for sale, you should also note the ones that feature pressure sensors. An "up" sensor can alert you to an empty bag or a bag that is being squeezed too tightly. Likewise, a "down" sensor will identify problems such as blocked veins or blocked lines and alert staff so that the issue can be rectified. This helps ensure all fluids and medications are delivered continuously and without interruption or risk of bursting.
- Points of Failure: Lastly, the most important feature to be aware of is the points of failure. You should always look for infusion pumps for sale that offer no singular fail points. This means your pump won’t simply stop functioning. However, this also means that the pump should have the ability to shut itself down should an error arise that prevents the proper introduction of fluids or cause a safety risk. If this is triggered, an alarm will sound so that staff can take appropriate actions.
Certain options, such as the Alaris infusion pump, are equipped with "smart" technology. Options such as these come with the safety features listed above, as well as programmable dose and infusion rate limits. These features can help reduce human error and alert staff if a dose deviates from set parameters or if the infusion rate is too high or low. This is especially helpful in busy hospital environments, where an infusion pump can be used in the ICU on an adult one day and an infant in the NICU the next.
When considering which pumps are right for you, take into consideration how many you will realistically need, as well as any additional backup batteries in the case of electrical outages. It’s also prudent to try and find infusion pumps that include as many of the above safety features mentioned above as possible. These features can not only make administering an IV infusion easier, but it can help make the process safer overall by reducing errors and other potentially harmful risks.