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AAMI's infusion pump safety guide targets C-Suite to reduce errors

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has a deal for hospital administrators: commit to improving infusion medication therapy and their biomedical department will help deliver quality improvement and savings.

This week, AAMI announced the publication of a five-point "quick" guide to inform hospital administrators about strategies to reduce errors related to medication therapy. Medication therapy problems are the number one cause of adverse medical errors, according to AAMI, and such errors add up to $29 billion in extra costs to hospital operations every year.

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Marilyn Neder Flack, AAMI executive director, reports that an infusion safety coalition meeting early this year identified hospital C-Suite lack of involvement as a challenge to improving infusion safety.

"At that meeting, we heard from many of the subject matter experts ... that without C-Suite involvement and championship, infusion safety efforts could not be sustained," Flack told HCB News. "Funding and resources must be available to ensure that process changes made to improve infusion therapy safety could be monitored, adapted, and evolved as needed over time."

Funding and resources are not the only opportunities or improvement covered in the publication. The AAMI advocates for a broad system-wide strategy related to infusion pump use. The five challenges advocated by the AAMI are:

• Are we adopting a systems approach to infusion therapy safety?
• Are we optimizing the management of our drug libraries to improve infusion therapy safety?
• Are we providing adequate funding, time, training, and resources to enable staff to improve infusion therapy safety?
• Are we effectively managing our infusion pump alarms to reduce alarm/alert fatigue without adversely affecting patient safety?
• Are we optimizing multiple-line infusion therapy safety?

Hospital administrators are time poor with many demands on their attention and intellect. Flack said the 18-page "quick" guide is in an easy question-and-answer format to assist the C-Suite in understanding the issues quickly. She thinks this will lead to action and better performance in the outcomes metrics that hospital administrators care about.

"I would like to see every hospital create baseline measures for their current state on the five areas discussed in the document, then create target future goals with processes implemented to achieve those goals," she said. "There should be a monthly report to the Senior Safety Committee Meeting that tracks how well a hospital is doing on reaching the goals."

Flack said this guide, Optimizing Patient Outcomes: Questions Senior Leaders Should Ask About Infusion Therapy Safety , is the first of four quick guides to be published, designed to help the C-Suite and the hospital infusion team improve infusion therapy safety.

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