By Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN
It’s time to address this healthcare problem.
There’s a healthcare crisis plaguing today’s hospitals and patients, yet few seem willing to address it. Hiding in plain sight at the bedside of nearly 90% of patients within hospitals are IV pumps, and these critical devices are responsible for numerous medication errors reported to the FDA each year. Some of these errors have been deadly, and many could have been prevented.
Between 2015 and 2017, the FDA reported more than 23,000 malfunctions and injuries attributed to the three most commonly used large-volume pumps. That’s equivalent to 23 malfunctions and injuries every day that are associated with a medical device intended to safely deliver IV drugs. Of the approximately 1.5 million adverse drug events reported to the FDA each year, 54% of those are related to infusion pump errors. And a sobering 61% of those adverse events reported are serious or life threatening.1,2
Born from a cocktail of industry apathy and lagging technology, this crisis has gone unaddressed for too long. These numbers are not only frightening—they’re also unacceptable. The outdated platforms in which pumps operate have not evolved to meet the challenges of complex patients or advanced pharmaceuticals. In an era where disruptive technology is impacting nearly every aspect of our lives—from our smart watches to smart homes—infusion pumps built on legacy technology could be harming patients every day within our hospitals.
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