Large-Volume Infusion Pumps: The Evolution Continues

December 1, 2009 | Evaluations & Guidance


Infusion pumps have come a long way since the days when a facility could purchase a device, hang it on a pole, and feed it administration sets until the gears wore out. While the basic pumping functionality has remained relatively stable, advances in computing power and an increasing awareness of medication safety have resulted in significant changes in the way infusion pumps are purchased and used.

Perhaps the most significant change in infusion technology is the addition of dose error reduction systems (DERS), which allow infusion pumps to warn users of incorrect medication orders, calculation errors, or misprogramming that would result in significant under- or overdelivery of a drug, electrolyte, or other fluid. These systems are an important part of a facility’s defenses against medication errors and are now becoming available on many types of pumps. Infusion pumps that have a DERS are often referred to as “smarter” pumps.

DERS technology has advanced from the early systems that consisted of a simple drug library that had to be manually loaded onto each pump. Since the introduction of DERS in large-volume pumps (LVPs, also known as general-purpose pumps), there has been a steady stream of advancements, including:

And the advances continue: Many suppliers offer regular software upgrades as feedback...

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