Intelligent infusion. Smart-pump integration.

The landscapes of science, industry and convenience stores are dotted with innovations that result from great combinations.

Johannes Gutenberg’s combination of movable type, oil-based inks and a workable press revolutionized bookmaking and our ability to share knowledge. The smartphone transformed how we take pictures, get travel directions and communicate with others.

And the fateful collision of peanut butter and chocolate lovers would one day create the Reese’s peanut butter cup, the best-selling candy brand in the United States.

Today, we’re innovating with a new clinical care advancement – integrating IV infusion pumps into Epic.

The initiative kicks off at Houston Methodist Sugar Land on Oct. 22 and rolls out systemwide in 2020.

Creating bridges. Interoperability.

It’s a frequently used  health care IT buzzword – interoperability. Simply put, it means connecting different devices together. For Houston Methodist, it means taking the IV pumps we use now and having the information go directly into Epic – without manual data entry.

For our patients, this means safer care.

“Technology affords us unique opportunities to change and improve the delivery of clinical care,” said Janet Leatherwood, HMSL chief nursing officer. “We’re seeking and finding new ways to be more effective and efficient, while providing safe quality care for our patients.”

Promoting patient safety.

Complex IV infusions previously required nurses to manually program pumps, creating potential opportunities for medication errors.

“We’re giving our nurses the best tools to care for our patients,” Leatherwood said.

“This technology helps ensure the right medication is administered and verified throughout the medication management process.”

With IV pump integration, a nurse scans barcodes on a patient’s wristband, the medication and the pump. The physician’s orders in Epic are then automatically programmed into the pump – no manual entry required by the bedside nurse. And the pump transmits the actual infusion rate and medication volume back into Epic.

This automation eliminates manual input and provides more detailed and precise IV pump readings, decreasing potential human errors for better patient outcomes.

Maximizing clinician efficiency.

The step forward offered by IV pump integration technology requires that nurses validate orders and document verification, adding an extra step in barcode scanning.

But it cuts in half the number of clicks and steps required in some workflows.

Additionally, nurses spend less time manually searching for IV medication details. This information is already programmed in Epic and maintained by the pharmacy department.

The end result – better for our patients and more efficient for our staff.