Alison Bloomquist: A Simple Solution to Improve Syringe Pump Safety

Thank you to AAMI for dedicating the fall 2015 issue of Horizons to infusion system safety. The issue is full of insightful and impactful articles sharing best practices that are useful to clinicians, biomedical technicians, informaticists, and medical device vendors. As a pharmacist with a medical device company, I collaborate with infusion pump users on a daily basis, training on medication safety software and smart pumps. I am frequently asked for information on best practices related to drug library builds and pump programming.

I am happy to have coauthored one of the articles featured in this issue of Horizons, titled “Reducing Intermittent Infusion Syringe Pump Errors via Weight-Based Safety Parameters.” The article shares the results of a retrospective analysis of intermittent infusions from syringe infusion pumps. Healthcare providers always are looking for ways to increase the safety of infusions; however, I am often asked for data or literature to help support any proposed change in practice. This study and article were developed to provide evidence to support changing from volume-over-time infusions to weight-based infusions, particularly because customers have found that many of their existing drug programs could have more rigorous safety parameters around them.

This article can be a resourceful tool for any smart infusion pump user, regardless of the type or brand of pump used, and hospitals may find that changing to weight-based programming for intermittent infusions may help prevent infusion errors.

Alison Bloomquist, PharmD, is a pharmacy clinical resource specialist at Smiths Medical, ASD, Inc. in St. Paul, MN.

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