As smart infusion technology is increasingly used by pharmacists in health-system settings, analyzing data from these devices can prove key to improving patient health.

During a satellite symposium at the 2018 American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, Richard Zink, MBA, the managing director of REMEDI Operations at the Purdue University Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, discussed the importance of analyzing smart pump data and the challenges that pharmacists often face in doing so. Although such analyses can help to maximize patient safety, he said, pharmacists’ workloads can hinder them from carving out time to examine data in detail.

“With the busy schedules of pharmacists, who move in many different direction trying to take care of their patients, it just takes some time and effort to look at the data,” Zink told Pharmacy Times.

Zink also noted the abundance of different data types—including alert data, compliance data, drug library benchmarking data, infusion details, and adverse drug events—can make it difficult for pharmacists to identify information that can help them improve their processes.

“There is so much data that you have to prioritize what you look at,” he explained to Pharmacy Times. “Sometimes, the needle in the haystack is not in a particular data set that you look at in a given month, so maybe you need to set up a schedule where every other month you look at something different to try to identify other key things and improve patient care in new ways.”

In his session, Zink highlighted 3 particular approaches that pharmacists could consider taking when analyzing their smart pump data:
  1. Identify problematic alerts. When looking at details from alert data, Zink advised pharmacists to focus on the highest times limits alerts, the top 10 high alert medications list, and both good and missed catches.
  2. Improve compliance. Compliance data—considered by a majority of session attendees to be the data type evaluated most frequently at their institution—can reinforce use of smart pump features and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Decrease alerts. To help reduce alert fatigue, pharmacists should initially focus on the highest alerting drug types before honing in on specific medications.
Zink emphasized the importance of collaborative data sharing and encouraged pharmacists to utilize resources that would allow them to exchange data with other hospitals.

“The great thing about pharmacists is that they’re willing to share their knowledge with other people and take care of patients everywhere,” he told Pharmacy Times. “Please feel free to take advantage of those resources.”

Zink R. How To of Data Generation and Interpretation from Smart Infusion Devices. Presented at: 2018 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting. December 2-6, 2018. Anaheim, California.