IV pumps are a piece of equipment that clinical staff need often (and urgently). Their presence or absence is critical to patient care, but it is not uncommon for staff to lose track of them, to find that somebody else took one, or realize that they do not have one that is properly sanitized. Given their unique importance to patient care, IV pump tracking and availability is key. Let’s take a look at how Bluetooth tracking is the most efficient way to track IV pumps indoors.
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IV pumps are particularly easy to misplace, and poor tracking can cause nurses to literally hide pumps so they know where they can find them later. Nurses who don't trust the IV pump tracking system will take matters into their own hands, so it becomes important to create a system they are comfortable with. Nurses should also not have to worry about inventory management; they should be able to focus fully on patient care. Some hospitals try to address this situation by simply buying or leasing more pumps, and then end up with overstocked inventory that is still not getting to patients in a timely manner. That’s why effective IV pump tracking is so important.
Given the basic, essential nature of IV pumps, they make a good starting point for moving to a full real-time tracking system for assets. This can eventually include everything from beds to disposable supplies. Many hospitals are finding that the systems they use are no longer sufficient in today's complicated world, or simply that better options are available. As technology continues to improve, new ways to track and manage IV pumps will no doubt be invented, but for now, Bluetooth tracking has proved to be the best option. Here’s why digitized Bluetooth-based real-time IV pump tracking is essential to hospitals.
IV pumps, also called infusion pumps, may be the most commonly used machines in patient care. Ninety percent of hospitalized patients receive some kind of IV medications, most of which are delivered by pump. They are required for providing fluids, medication, and sometimes nutrition to patients. They are used to administer anesthesia or rehydrate dehydrated patients. If IV pumps get lost (or even stolen; they are expensive devices and have been known to walk out the door), then they are not available when patients need them.
IV pumps also need power, although they can be operated for a period of time using batteries. Newer IV and infusion pumps are "smart," which means they can be programmed to drip at certain speeds, etc, and this also means they have Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth connectivity, but also further increases their expense.
Without enough IV pumps available, a hospital cannot treat all the patients who come in the door and may have to resort to more primitive measures that waste the time of nursing staff.
The other side of the picture is that IV pumps have to be clean and ready to go. Because the IV pump is in contact with the patient, it is automatically considered contaminated after use and has to go through an entire sanitation cycle before it can be used again. This is a complicated process that involves:
Needless to say, IV pumps can be lost or forgotten at any part of this stage, and a dirty IV pump cannot be used on patients without an extreme level of risk. A hospital's available IV pumps are, thus, only those in the "clean" storage room, and it's vital to ensure that used pumps get there as quickly as possible without compromising patient safety.
Proper tracking ensures that IV pumps are sanitized in a timely manner (and do not build-up to the point where the chore becomes annoying for ClinTech), and then get to the cleanroom without taking any detours. Nurses and doctors know exactly how many IV pumps they have available and where they are.
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In addition to ensuring IV pump tracking and availability, digital tracking supports patient care and improved outcomes in a number of ways:
Digital tracking, in other words, reduces the amount of time wasted tracking down pumps. Smart pumps can tell nurses whether or not they are clean, reducing errors and protecting patients from contamination and other problems. The key here, though, is reducing so-called "hunt time," which can leave a patient without their medication for longer than is truly necessary and result in frustration for clinical staff. This then results in hoarding, which further increases hunt time.
It ensures that pumps are available for all patients that need them without wasting a lot of money acquiring and storing extra pumps.
Bluetooth tracking can support everything already mentioned and further improve patient outcomes. Bluetooth is ideal for tracking hospital assets because the chips are inexpensive and the system allows for a fine enough grid that it is even possible to tell what shelf in the storage room an object is on, further reducing search times.
Bluetooth tracking solutions can:
Most modern smart pumps are, in fact, already Bluetooth-ready, meaning that there is no need to "tag" these pumps with beacons. The IV pump tracking solutions can generate an alarm if an IV pump is ever removed from clinical areas (except for broken pumps that are tagged out for disposal), and thus acts to prevent theft as well as hoarding of pumps by worried staff. It also allows for the tag in and tag out of infusion pumps that are temporarily sent home with a patient, ensuring that those pumps, too, are properly traced and returned when no longer needed.
Kontakt.io offers robust Bluetooth IV pump tracking solutions, and hardware which uses less power, has to be replaced less often and integrates well with Bluetooth-based smart pumps comparing to other technologies. Our healthcare solutions further support decision making when controlling inventory. Contact us to find out how our solutions can help you or to schedule a demo.
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