Many large health systems have yet to tackle the challenge of integrating their smart pumps and electronic health record systems. But Dave Baumgardner, director of information technology at Union Hospital, a community hospital in Dover, Ohio, is expecting to go live with smart pump integration this spring.
“There are three reasons why we are pursuing this: patient safety and quality, accurate chart capture and reimbursement improvement, and streamlining nursing workflow,” Baumgardner said. “From our initial analysis we are looking at about a $2 million improvement in revenue capture from this project.”
Union Hospital is working with the vendor of its smart pumps, Hospira, and Iatric Systems to create interoperability between Hospira's smart infusion devices and Iatric's Accelero Connect integration software. The project work started last fall.
Through the partnership, Union will be able to automate smart pump programming with a validated EHR medication order. In addition, the interoperability ensures medication data will be integrated into a patient's EHR.
In an earlier press release, Frank Fortner, president of Iatric Systems, explained the value of the integration work: “On the clinical side, we’re sending IV medication orders from the EMR to the infusion pump, which significantly minimizes the chance of human errors and helps improve patient outcomes. On the financial side, we’re sending start times, stop times, and other infusion details from the pump back to the EMR, which saves nurses time and may improve hospital reimbursements.”
“We have a strong relationship with both vendors,” Baumgardner said, “and they gave us a great incentive to do this and be one of their first sites.”
Baumgardner called the projected $2 million in savings “huge” for a community hospital. “The safety and quality improvements are huge for any hospital,” he said. “Anytime there is manual intervention with the pumps, there is room for human error.”
Baumgardner said the fact that Union Hospital is standardized on one pump by Hospira — it has 180 of them — makes the interoperability project much more manageable than it would have been with an assortment of pumps. “We have one smart pump vendor, one server administering it, so we have al the pieces in place to make it work very well.”
Union Hospital has a strong technology foundation (it is HIMSS Analytics Stage 6), he said, and a strong team leading the project, including the director of pharmacy, the director of clinical informatics, the chief medical officer and chief nursing officer.
“Our director of pharmacy has been clamoring for integration with our smart pumps for years, but Meditech doesn’t have that component,” Baumgardner said. “There are probably only 25 hospitals in the country, all using Epic and Cerner, that are doing this. It appears we are going to be the first Meditech customer doing it.”