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Smart Pumps

December 1, 2008
by root
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KLAS says: In the realm of intravenously administered medications, a decimal-point error can represent an enormous, an potentially fatal, departure from the correct dosage. The magnitude of this patient safety hazard is even more daunting when one considers that two-thirds of medication errors involve injectable medications and that over half of the most severe preventable drug alerts are IV related. Smart infusion pumps are designed to add a line of defense at the bedside against such medication errors by ensu ing that the right medication and dose go to the right patient every time.

While all vendors claim to significantly increase patient safety, are they able to deliver on that promise? What distinctions, if any, exist among the vendors and their offerings? What are the hurdles in product adoption and nurse compliance? What advancements in smart pump technology is the market demanding?

KLAS interviewed over 200 healthcare professionals regarding the experiences they are having with their smart infusion pump vendors and products to find out the answers to these and other questions. This study focuses on large volumetric pumps (LVPs) with dose calculation software. Additional data on syringe and patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps is also included in this report.


B. Braun — B. Braun is a dependable vendor that fields a reliable product backed with solid service. Clients feel B. Braun truly partners with customers to ensure a successful go live, including set up of drug libraries and CQI reporting capability. B. Braun's continuing support is solid. Though B. Braun Outlook pumps are not the most functionally advanced product, they are noted for few maintenance issues while performing as well as the more expensive alternatives.

Baxter — Some customers are expressing doubts regarding Baxter's continued viability in the infusion pump market. It appears that until current FDA challenges are satisfied and removed, Baxter stands to lose more market share. Many customers feel that the Colleague does not yet meet patient safety needs despite fixes, and some clients are hoping for a new product.

Cardinal Health — Cardinal Health delivers an advanced, flexible infusion solution and quality service. Cardinal Health is continuing to enhance existing technologies to get closer to a fail-safe process, thereby increasing patient safety and decreasing provider liability. The vendor now offers value-added services, such as handling clients' CQI data.



A+/MedNet — While clients recognize the limitations of the Plum A+/MedNet pumps, these clients are positive about the future outlook with Hospira, largely due to the introduction of the next-generation Hospira pump, Symbiq. Initially, Symbiq clients believe Symbiq to be a great improvement over the Plum A+/MedNet pumps and a step forward for the industry in terms of functionality and interfacing capability.

Sigma — The user-friendly product design and price point for the Sigma Spectrum pump have received high marks and resulted in a number of new contracts for Sigma. Some clients believe that Sigma's smaller size allows the company to be more responsive than larger competitors. Customers anxiously await the expansion of the vendor's wireless technology, which is essential to meeting the requirements of larger institutions.

Healthcare Informatics 2008 December;25(12):20