The Latest Coronavirus Shortage: Hospital Infusion Pumps
Featuring Susan Niemeier, CNO Ivenix: MedTechDive, April 14, 2020
Hospitals fighting the novel coronavirus are not only experiencing shortages of ventilators and personal protective equipment but also of infusion pumps critical for providing medications and fluids to the growing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, an affiliate of the nonprofit ECRI Institute, in recent weeks reached out to all major manufacturers of infusion pumps and hospitals to assess supplies of equipment and drugs. Its conclusion: “people are having trouble getting enough pumps,” Michael Cohen, ISMP’s president said during a webcast last week.
“Some organizations are already experiencing unprecedented shortages of smart infusion pumps and dedicated administration sets, while others are still anticipating such shortages,” according to an alert issued by the nonprofit on how to manage the delivery of drugs amid pump scarcity.
Recognizing increased demand for infusion pumps, FDA on April 5 issued guidance aimed at spurring access to the devices for patients infected with COVID-19 who “may require continuous infusion of medications, nutrition, and/or other fluids.”
The goal is to give more flexibility to infusion pump companies to address manufacturing limitations and supply shortages related to the public health emergency.
Susan Niemeier, chief nursing officer for infusion pump maker Ivenix, is concerned that infusion pumps will be even less available as hospitalizations for coronavirus increase.
With much attention focused on shortages of ventilators and PPE, Niemeier says the healthcare system must take a “comprehensive look” at what it needs to care for the surge in COVID-19 patients, especially those on ventilator assistance who require IV support.
“While a patient is on a ventilator, they’re often placed on a number of drugs,” according to Niemeier. “Infusion pumps aren’t talked about a lot but they are another necessary medical device for treating these complex patients.”
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