Fluonic Brings Infusion Safety, Effectiveness to Forefront During Patient Safety Awareness Week

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Colorado digital health and information company highlights issues on IV drug delivery.

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This week, Patient Safety Awareness Week reminds patients, families and the health care community of the need to keep all patients free from harm.

While applicable to all aspects of patient care, intravenous (IV) drug therapy can present some of the most difficult challenges in delivering critical medication safely. To mark the National Patient Safety Foundation®’s week, Fluonic, Inc., highlights the issues with IV drug delivery, and offers suggestions for patients, families, caregivers and health care workers to increase safety.

The statistics on accurate delivery of IV drugs are staggering, according to Jim Kasic, CEO of Fluonic, a digital health and information company that provides monitoring of infusion drug delivery with patented flow measurement and control technology. “The $10 billion drug infusion market is marked by the inability to measure the flow of medication from infusion pumps to patents (particularly very low flows), or even confirm that flow is entering the patient,” he explains.

According to industry research:

  • Infusion therapy pumps currently deliver flow rates with only 80 percent accuracy – under ideal conditions.
  • The current unreliability limits the types of drugs that can be delivered at home.
  • The infusion drug industry is plagued with recalls of hundreds of thousands of faulty pumps. Adverse drug events are costing U.S. hospitals alone more than $3.5 billion each year.
  • Medication errors, occurring either in or out of the hospital, are estimated to account for 7,000 deaths annually.

The problems, says Kasic, undermine the medical system’s ability to confirm compliance with the prescribed regimen, result in compromised clinical outcomes, and drive up costs by requiring extensive nurse supervision. “Most important, the problems with current infusion therapy can put patient safety at risk.” To help increase safety, Kasic offers four tips.

1.    Ask if a patient’s IV flow rate is measured and regulated. Small changes in the height of the IV bag can make significant differences in the rate at which the medication flows. It is important that the IV drug is delivered with a flow monitor and regulator.

2.    Ask about the level of nurse supervision: Because existing flow measurement technology and equipment can provide inaccurate results, nurse supervision – whether drug delivery is at home or in a medical facility – is critical.

3.    Ask if the flow measurement sensor allow remote monitoring of the infusion procedure, and provides automatic adjustments and alarms.

4.    Ask if the equipment can communicate data wirelessly to designated recipients within the healthcare IT system. This can help health care providers assure better control infusion drug delivery. As a result, patients can receive more types of drugs at home, effectively reducing hospital stays and visits, and outpatient clinic visits.

“Patient Safety Awareness Week is an excellent time to bring safe, accurate delivery of IV drug medication to the forefront,” says Kasic. “More communication about safe IV drug delivery, and ways to make it safer, will lead to life-saving results for patients and medical providers alike.”

Fluonic, Inc. (http://www.fluonic.com)
Based in Boulder, Colo., Fluonic, Inc., is a digital health and information company that provides monitoring of infusion drug delivery with patented flow measurement and control technology. The company’s products, including the flagship VariFlow sensor, solve the problem that the $10 billion drug infusion market cannot accurately measure the flow of medication from infusion pumps to patients, particularly very low flows. Initial applications include elastomeric infusion pumps and critical care equipment.

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Aimee Bennett

Jim Kasic