Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY) was selected as a finalist for ECRI Institute's 7th Health Devices Achievement Award for its project to integrate the organization's radio-frequency identification (RFID) and infusion pump systems.
The Health Devices Achievement Award recognizes outstanding initiatives undertaken by member healthcare institutions to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology. ECRI Institute announced the winner and five finalists for the 7th award in October 2012. Learn about the other submissions that achieved recognition.
ECRI Institute congratulates the Memorial Sloan-Kettering team: Paul Frisch, Paul Booth, and Maryam Mehryar.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems are intended to allow critical resources such as staff and devices to be located and tracked. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center was an early adopter of RFID systems in healthcare and has considerable experience with them. Using that experience, the organization recognized that it could significantly expand the capabilities of the technology by integrating it with other systems. Two years ago, Memorial Sloan-Kettering's approach toward achieving this kind of integration, particularly between its RFID and infusion pump systems, earned it recognition as a finalist for the 5th Health Devices Achievement Award in 2010 (details can be found in Integrating a Real-Time Locating System with the Infusion Pumps at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Yields Additional Efficiencies). For 2012, we recognize the organization's continuation of this initiative, moving from the proof-of-concept phase in 2010 to the development and implementation of an interface between its RFID and infusion pump systems.
As we described in 2010, Memorial Sloan-Kettering's initial deployment of RFID tags on infusion pumps yielded helpful location information—staff could now quickly identify the location of infusion pumps—but that alone did not fully meet users' needs. One significant missing piece of information, for example, was whether or not the pump was in use. Without information about the pump status, staff might need to go from pump to pump to find one that was available for use.
Integrating the two systems has allowed staff to quickly ascertain a pump's operational status and locate available pumps, saving time. It also allows the hospital to identify and locate individual pumps based on other criteria such as serial number, firmware version, or formulary version. Such integration can help improve patient safety and allow for more efficient equipment management.
For example, the facility's wireless smart infusion pumps use programmable formulary datasets (drug libraries) to ensure that infusions are correctly set within acceptable parameters for the drug being administered. These drug libraries are updated on a regular basis. While an updated library can be sent automatically to individual pumps via the wireless network, activating the downloaded library on any given pump requires that the power to the pump be manually cycled. With its systems interfaced, Memorial Sloan-Kettering can combine the drug library information in the infusion pump server with the pump location information from the RFID system to quickly locate the pumps that need to be cycled to activate the current dataset.
The integrated system also facilitates efficient equipment management. For example:
It eliminates the motivation behind the hoarding of equipment, a practice that can increase costs through redundant equipment purchases or leases. Historically, nurses at the facility had resorted to hoarding equipment when faced with the possibility that the equipment would not be accessible when it was needed. Now, the integrated system allows nurses to quickly find the nearest available pump by looking at a single display.
When pumps are due for preventive maintenance, clinical engineering staff can identify where the pump can be found and whether it is available for pickup (i.e., whether it is not in use).
The tracking of pump movement and usage supports effective load balancing, allowing the facility to deploy resources most effectively. For example, pumps that are underutilized in one care area can be redeployed to another. In fact, by identifying and redeploying underutilized pumps, Memorial Sloan-Kettering was able to avoid additional pump purchases for new clinical sites, resulting in significant savings.
"As useful as it can be to locate individual pumps and know their status in real time, the greatest benefits of integration come from the ability to analyze data over time," notes Maryam Mehryar, biomedical engineer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "The overall picture we get of pump deployment throughout the facility allowed us to identify existing pumps that could be deployed in the new clinical sites, for example, and it helps the administration make decisions about future pump purchases."
This initiative illustrates how integrating two systems can enhance the capabilities of each: With integrated RFID and infusion pump systems, available pumps can be located more quickly (saving time), and pump drug libraries can be updated more reliably (improving patient safety). Additionally, the initiative illustrates the efficiencies that can be achieved when IT-based systems are effectively integrated. Memorial Sloan-Kettering reports that its use of RFID data in combination with infusion pump utilization statistics enabled it to redeploy underutilized assets (thereby increasing the utilization rate of existing equipment), reduce annual spending, and improve staff confidence that equipment would be available when needed.