Developing strategic recommendations for implementing smart pumps in advanced healthcare systems to improve intravenous medication safety

Adam Sutherland, Matthew Jones, Moninne Howlett, Sara Arenas-Lopez, Arif Patel, Bryony Dean Franklin

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7 Citations (SciVal)
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Avoidable harm associated with medication is a persistent problem in health systems and the use of preprogrammed infusion devices (‘smart pumps’) and data monitoring is seen as a core approach to mitigating and reducing the incidence of these harms. However, smart pumps are costly to procure, configure and maintain (in both human and financial terms) and are often poorly implemented. Variation in the manner in which medicines are prepared and used within complex modern healthcare systems exacerbates these challenges, and a strategic human-centred approach is needed to support their implementation. A symposium of 36 clinical and academic medication safety experts met virtually to discuss the current ‘state of the art’ and to propose strategic recommendations to support the implementation of medication administration technology to improve medication safety. The recommendations were that health systems (1) standardise infusion concentrations to facilitate the development of ready-to-administer formulations of frequently used medicines, and support ‘out of the box’ programming of infusion devices; (2) develop and implement drug libraries using human-centred approaches and the aforementioned standard concentrations, with a theoretical understanding of how devices are used in practice; (3) develop standardised metrics and outcomes to support the interpretation of data produced by infusion devices; (4) involve all stakeholders in the development of drug libraries and metrics to ensure broad understanding of the devices, their benefits and limitations; and (5) leverage input into device design, working with manufacturers and users. Using this strategic approach, it is then possible to envisage and plan real-world implementation studies using a uniform approach to quantify improvements in safety, efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-889
Number of pages9
JournalDrug Safety
Issue number8
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The symposium was supported by Becton-Dickinson (UK) Ltd, through the provision of videoconferencing facilities and co-ordination of delegates.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the following for their contribution to and participation in the symposium: Dr. Paul Dean: Chair, Standards Division, Intensive Care Society. Paul T. Lee. BA (Hons), MIPEM, RSci, Medical Devices Training Manager, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Chair NAMDET ( Mr. Patrick O’Sullivan: Medication Safety Officer, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Susan Keeling: Medusa Injectable Medicines Website Co-Ordinator. Catherine Maddock: Acute and Chronic Pain Specialist Nurse Practitioner and Non-Medical Prescribing Lead, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Ann Blandford, PhD, CEng: Professor of Human–Computer Interaction, University College London. Dr. Virginia Aguado Lorenzo: Safety Injectable Medicines Pharmacist, Guys & St Thomas’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London. Dr. Malcolm Phillips: Head of Clinical Engineering, Department of Medical Physics, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian. Steve Tomlin: Chief Pharmacist, Great Ormond Street Hospital. Dr. Anna Maria Rollin, MBE: Patients Association (UK). Dr. David Cousins: Safe Medication Practice Consultant, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). Nanna Christiansen: Associate Chief Pharmacist, Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Fraser Hanks: Principal Pharmacist, Critical Care, Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Tina Worth, LLM, MBA, PGCE, RGN: Manager, Medical Affairs (Medication Management Solutions), BD.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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