A crucial consideration when evaluating smart infusion pumps is a pump’s capacity for wireless connectivity and the options that are available (see SIDEBAR for an IT perspective on requirements for an infusion pump’s wireless module). From a clinical perspective, the ability to wirelessly publish a drug library update to an infusion device is a vital feature, especially for those devices that utilize a large, robust medication library. (It should be noted that some infusion devices, such as patient-controlled analgesia or patient-controlled epidural analgesia, typically have a limited medication library and changes are rarely needed; for these devices, the ability to publish medication library updates wirelessly is less critical.) On the surface, publishing a drug library wirelessly to infusion devices seems straightforward and commoditized; however, it is vital to understand the differentiating features among the available pumps.
Steps for Library Updates
The typical process for performing a medication library update includes the following steps:
Vendor-supplied software is used to perform this process. Steps 1 and 2 are usually performed via locally installed software that is only available to the infusion device administrator. Experience shows that steps 1 and 2 are similar among the various vendors. Steps 3 to 5 are typically performed on a local server that connects wirelessly to all the applicable infusion devices; implementation of these steps can vary widely among vendors. Some systems require significant manual intervention to ensure the library update is sent and the infusion devices are updated. Other systems automate the entire update process, ensuring efficient updates requiring minimal intervention.
It should be noted that the efficiency of performing wireless drug library updates will likely impact the frequency of their occurrence. Inefficient update processes often lead to infrequent updates, while efficient processes can facilitate regular updates, delivering close to real-time update capability. Thus, utilizing infusion pumps with a robust capacity for efficient updates creates a clear advantage.
When Are Updates Required?
A variety of factors prompt library updates (see FIGURE 1). The library must be in sync with the formulary, which is typically evaluated during the monthly P&T Committee meeting. The library also must reflect the hospital’s electronic health record, for both medication orderables and order sets. End-user feedback and suggestions can be particularly valuable; once evaluated and approved, these changes must be distributed to the entire fleet of infusion pumps. Finally, as part of continuous quality improvement efforts, drug library optimization may be required to ensure safe medication administration practices. For all of these reasons, performing drug library updates is a routine practice for many infusion device administrators. Peninsula Regional Medical Center typically updates its infusion device drug library twice per month.
Multiple variables influence the efficiency of infusion device drug library updates. When evaluating infusion devices, it is important to understand where differences may occur and what questions to ask the vendor regarding the update process. In addition, networking with other facilities that use the same infusion device can provide valuable insight into the efficiency and frequency of library updates.
Dennis Killian, PharmD, PhD, graduated from the University of Maryland-Baltimore School of Pharmacy, obtaining a PharmD in 1999 and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2001. He currently serves as director of pharmacy services at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC), where he has been employed since 2005. Dennis also has served as an associate professor of pharmacy practice and administration at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy since 2010.
Brad Taylor, MS, is director, technical and support services, in the Information Services department at PRMC. He received a BS in mathematics from Salisbury University and after graduation worked at the university for 13 years as a programmer, systems and network administrator, and director of computer services. For the last 25 years working at PRMC, Brad has been responsible for overseeing all technical infrastructure, as well as the IT Service Desk and Communication Department.
Infusion Pump Wireless Module Requirements
From an IT perspective, the infusion pump’s wireless module should support:
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