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Smart pumps coming to Niagara Health

Posted May 7th, 2018

Smart pumps coming to Niagara Health

Training has begun across Niagara Health to prepare for the distribution of more than 1,000 new “smart” infusion pumps which will be received by every unit in every site by Canada Day.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (Medication Safety) Carmen Cernusca, who’s coordinating the training of staff on the new pumps, says the pumps are being well received by teams eager to work with new technology. The pumps are an investment in patient safety, as the technology reduces the potential for errors when programming pumps for medication administration.

What makes a pump “smart”? The new pumps are equipped with Dose Error Reduction Software (DERS) to facilitate safer delivery of medication infusions.  Drug-specific dosing parameters add an additional level of safety to ensure too much or too little drug is not inadvertently administered.  Drug-specific alerts are also built in to remind the nurse about drug-specific checking or monitoring parameters. “You have to interact with the pump like you have to interact with a smart phone,” she said. “For the majority of people, they’re really intuitive.”

Planning to purchase the new pumps began several months ago with staff and physicians having input on the implementation and training plans. The entire project has involved members from Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacy, Strategic Sourcing, Information and Communications Technology and Nursing.

The collaborative nature of this project was critical to its success. “With everyone working together, you get a really well-rounded plan. We have a really great team,” Ms. Cernusca said, adding “physicians, pharmacists and nursing staff from each unit were also engaged early on to validate drug programming parameters before the pumps are put into use”

Niagara Health invested more than $3 million in the pumps to proactively replace the current fleet with a version that supports patient safety at the highest level.

“The standard of care for drug delivery now includes utilizing infusion pumps with dose-error reduction software,” said Frank Gigliotti, Charge Technologist, Niagara Health Biomedical Engineering. “This technology significantly increases patient safety.”

The distribution of the pumps will begin in St. Catharines May 15. Staff will receive additional hands-on training on patient-care units as each pump gets installed with, “minimal interruption for the patient,” Ms. Cernusca said.

“These pumps are so much better for our patients, allowing staff to administer medications safely to provide extraordinary care” she said.


Niagara Health System