Acceptance of 'smart' intravenous infusion pumps is growing among nurses, but challenges remain

Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365

Over the years, intravenous (IV) infusion pumps have undergone technological refinement in an attempt to reduce medication administration errors. Today, more and more hospitals are using what are known as "smart" IV pumps. These are designed to double-check the programmed dose of medication and identify other errors before and during medication or fluid infusion. A new study of nurses' experiences with these pumps finds that their acceptance is growing. However, challenges remain with regard to implementing these pumps in the health care setting and dealing with technical performance issues. The researchers surveyed nurses attending training sessions on smart IV pumps prior to their implementation at a large medical center.

Nurses were surveyed again via e-mail at 6 weeks after the pumps were actively in use on the floors and then again at 1 year. Nurses expressed positive perceptions of the smart IV pumps on the preimplementation and 6-week postimplementation surveys. These positive perceptions increased significantly after 1 year of use. This was particularly true when it came to the perceived efficiency of these pumps. Such improvements were not observed, however, regarding nurses' experiences with the pump's implementation process and technical performance. Nurses cited problems with the usefulness of information received about the pump's implementation as well as clarity of the training materials. Even after 1 year, perceptions regarding the pump's noise and reliability did not improve.

Factors that influenced a nurse's acceptance of the pump included reliability, programming speed, efficiency, error recovery, alarm messages, and interface satisfaction. Technology refinement by smart pump vendors will be needed to overcome problems such as air-in-line alarms and delay-related beeps. Better training materials, particularly ones that can serve as ready references, will also help with the acceptance of these pumps, note the researchers. Their study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS14253).

See "Nurses' acceptance of Smart IV pump technology," by Pascale Carayon, Ph.D., Ann Schoofs Hundt, Ph.D., and Tosha B. Wetterneck, M.D., in the International Journal of Medical Informatics 79, pp. 401-411, 2010.

Current as of January 2011
Internet Citation: Acceptance of 'smart' intravenous infusion pumps is growing among nurses, but challenges remain: Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365. January 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.