Best Practices for Health-System Pharmacy During COVID-19 - Episode 3

Practice Pearl 1: IV Infusion Pump Features Most Beneficial in General & During the Pandemic

The panel of experts discuss features of IV infusion pumps found to be most beneficial, especially during the pandemic, such as wireless technologies.

Madeline Camejo, PharmD, MS: Esty, knowing all the IV [intravenous] features that smart pumps have today, what did you find was most beneficial during the times we have now and what was the most important feature to have in a smart pump?

Estela (Esty) Trimino, PharmD, BCPS: Having the capability of looking and adding our concentrations and having things built in. As we started looking at our pump utilization, the wireless technology helped us download things very quickly, keeping us with what we’re programming as far as hitting our higher limits and making sure that we’re having those double checks at the pump with our nurses. Especially when you’re going through a lot of patients who are sick in the ICU [intensive care unit], it could be chaotic, having isolation patients. Those features of having the safety, since you’re doing so many things, having those dosing alerts available, having a library able to be downloaded quickly, helps you to reduce some of those dosing errors that can occur. There are so many drips on these patients in the ICU. We have multiple, maybe 5, 6, or 7 drips on these patients, especially on the critical care area. That’s where it becomes a very valuable piece of equipment that you’re using in combating COVID-19. The dose reduction software that it contains was helping us to see where our errors, if any, were occurring. Again, definitely using those pumps was important and making sure they were being utilized appropriately during COVID-19.

Madeline Camejo, PharmD, MS: Do you guys have the pumps that integrate with the EMR [electronic medical record system] so that your start times, all your dosing is recorded, what they call interoperability?

Michael Epshteyn, PharmD, MSM:That’s something we’re working toward. We recently upgraded all our pumps. It was a big undertaking just to make sure they’re all using the same database. Now that’s centrally coordinated, so we get reports and we can compare ourselves to other similar institutions for benchmarking. And all our pumps are wireless, so as it was mentioned previously, having pumps wirelessly updated is a huge help. We do not have it integrated with the EMR, but that would be the next step, that would be helpful. I would say that the ability to update the pumps with the right volumes, concentrations, and infusion rates was helpful because those requirements were very fluid and were changing as more information was becoming available. Some products initially required more volume, and then we were able to infuse them faster with less volume, things of that nature, given the ability to update pumps all at the same time and wirelessly was very helpful. Integrating them into the EMR and having that loop closed and providing the feedback to the pharmacy and EMR would be the next logical step.

Transcript edited for clarity.