One in ten IV drug administrations are associated with an error.
The use of “smart” intravenous (IV) infusion technology has been shown to reduce drug errors.
In a study published in BMJ Open Quality, researchers at the University of Manchester found a significant reduction in moderate to severe harm administration errors when smart pumps were used.
Previous work from the team found that 1 in 10 IV drug administrations are associated with an error, and up to 1 in 10 of those were associated with harm.
The authors examined data from 1.5 million IV infusions, with just under half (45%) administered using a pump with smart technology enabled.
Smart pumps were found to have prevented 668 moderate to severe harm administration errors involving anticoagulants, anti-epileptics and antibiotic medicines and therefore reduced the risk of harm to patients.
Like a seat belt in a car.
Lead author Adam Sutherland explained, “Intravenous infusion errors leading to fatalities are extremely rare event; the vast majority of IV infusions are safe.
“But avoidable harm associated with medication is a persistent problem in health systems and the use of preprogramed infusion devices can mitigate and reducing their incidence
“Configuration of these pumps is often poorly implemented – with little consistency between hospitals.
He added: “Variation in the manner in which medicines are prepared and used within complex modern healthcare systems exacerbates these challenges, so a strategic human-centred approach is needed to support their implementation.
“Smart functionality has a role in intravenous medication safety, but only as part of a programme of interventions to standardise intravenous medication practice.
“They aren’t a panacea but like a seat belt in a car in that they can avoid catastrophic injuries to patients.”