MedTech-IQ member, Dean Calcagni
, M.D., ... was recently quoted on the importance of a major effort at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to bring physicians and engineers together to apply systems engineering principles to improve the safety of infusion pumps ...
...Infusion pumps are ever-present in nearly every health
care setting, providing critical fluids to patients, including insulin to diabetics, liquid food to patients unable to eat, chemotherapy
medication to cancer patients and anesthetics via epidurals to women giving birth...
... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials recently announced the
creation of a new
safety initiative aimed at improving the safety of infusion pumps ...
... But the devices, which often have a computerized screen
and a number of parts, are prone to mechanical and electronic malfunctions, as well as user errors...
...According to the FDA, there have
been 710 reported deaths linked to infusion pump malfunction over the
last five years ... From 2005 to 2009,
there were 56,000 reports of infusion pump malfunction and 87 recalls ...
... Last fall, Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical care
physician at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Director of the Quality and Safety Research Group, and author of the recently released “Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor's Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care From The Inside Out
,” approached APL in Laurel, Maryland to create a strategic partnership between the medical experts at Johns Hopkins University hospital and systems engineering experts at the Applied Physics Laboratory (AP)L ...
... Pronovost, along with Pete Doyle, a member of the Hopkins
Hospital’s Clinical Engineering Services, and Alan Ravitz an engineer in APL’s Biomedicine Business Area, launched a pilot project to pair a health care delivery team with systems engineers ...
... Already the team has identified several
specific areas of systems engineering that if applied could help to improve patient safety...
...Says Dr. Pronovost: “From infusion pumps to radiation
therapy devices, we are asking clinicians to do a Herculean task: compensate for poor system design
. Rather than telling clinicians to be more careful we should design products that are easier to use.”...
... “The current focus on the safety of medical infusion pumps
is a great example of the vital role that systems engineering could play in improving the safety of our health care,” says APL’s Dean
, the Director of Strategic Planning
in APL’s Biomedicine Business Area. “Like chocolate and peanut butter, medicine and systems engineering is a great combination that has great potential.”
Read on at: http://www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/pressreleases/2010/100521.asp