Implementation of smart pump technology in a paediatric intensive care unit

Health Informatics J. 2015 Sep;21(3):209-22. doi: 10.1177/1460458213518058. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


Patient safety is a matter of major concern that involves every health professional. Nowadays, emerging technologies such as smart pumps can diminish medication errors as well as standardise and improve clinical practice with the subsequent benefits for patients. The aim of this paper was to describe the smart pump implementation process in a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and to present the most relevant infusion-related programming errors that were prevented. This was a comparative study between CareFusion Alaris Guardrails(®) and Hospira MedNet(®) systems, as well as a prospective and intervention study with analytical components carried out in the PICU of Gregorio Marañón General and Teaching Hospital. All intravenous infusions programmed with a pump in the eleven beds of the unit were analyzed. A drug library was developed and subsequently loaded into CareFusion and Hospira pumps that were used during a three month period each. The most suitable system for implementation was selected according to their differences in features and users' acceptance. Data stored in the pumps were analyzed to assess user compliance with the technology, health care setting and type of errors intercepted. The implementation process was carried out with CareFusion systems. Compliance with the technology was 92% and user acceptance was high. Vacation substitution and drug administration periods were significantly associated with a greater number of infusion-related programming errors. High risk drugs were involved in 48% of intercepted errors. Based on these results we can conclude that implementation of smart pumps proved effective in intercepting infusion-related programming errors from reaching patients. User awareness of the importance of programming infusions with the drug library is the key to succeed in the implementation process.

Keywords: drug library; intravenous administration; programming errors; safety; smart pumps.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Delivery Systems / standards*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment Safety / nursing*
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps / standards
  • Infusion Pumps / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infusion Pumps / trends
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / trends*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical*