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SMH installs "Smart" intravenous pumps

Sixty percent of the harmful medication errors that occur in hospitals are related to IV infusion.  Eliminating these errors is the reason that Stephens Memorial Hospital has just installed a new medication safety system developed by Hospira, called the Plum A.  The system, also called a "smart" pump, features a software program that provides computerized decision support to nurses and physicians at the patient's bedside, helping to prevent serious dosing errors.

"What this new technology does is to put a smart dr ug library into the infusion pump, so that based on which drug the nurses tells the pump she is about to administer, the pump alerts her if she inadvertently exceeds a pre-established minimum or maximum dosing allowance for the medication, "explains Pat Cook, Senior Vice President, Clinical Services.  "The system provides an extra layer of protection by alerting the nurse

                                                                Photo caption:   Kim DeSanctis, RN
                                                               Jennifer Spencer, RN, and Megan
                                                               Smith, RN, spend time training on the
                                                               new "smart" IV pumps at SMH.

when a programmed dose is outside pre-established dosage limits for that medication, thus helping to prevent a wrong dose from being administered to the patient."

This exciting new technology adds to our other medication safety initiatives, such as use of automated medication cabinets, new labeling techniques to distinguish similar looking drug names and to identify high risk medications, and separation of similarly named drugs int he pharmacy.  All of these demonstrate commitment to patient safety at SMH. 

Studies at major medical centers from Savannah, GA to Boston, MA have shown that this new technology has a critical impact in preventing potentially serious IV medication errors. 
SMH is among a handful of hospitals nationwide to implement "smart" infusion pump technology, and is the first hospital in Maine to do so.

Stephens Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Western Maine Health, which is part of the Maine Health® family.  Visit Western Maine Health on the Internet at



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