Continual Progress Toward Interoperability

For the first time, adoption of bidirectional interoperability between smart pumps and EMRs is high enough that we can give you an idea of what your experience with integrating your smart pump with your EMR will be like. Our Smart Pump/EMR Interoperability 2020 report dives into the exciting research of organization satisfaction for specific smart pump and EMR vendor combinations.

We wrote this report with two primary groups in mind: pharmacy directors, who are responsible for the safe delivery of medications to patients, and nursing leadership, whose daily workflows are directly affected by smart pump technology. Through our research and analysis, we hope to help these pharmacists and nurses navigate the change management necessary to adopt this technology and help increase patient safety.

Some individuals or organizations may be under the impression that a pump is a pump and that it doesn’t matter which one they get, so they might as well go with the vendor who has been working with pumps the longest. But we can see that certain combinations really do make a difference, and it is important for organizations to go with a company that fits their culture. Some smart pump vendors are more hands off, while others have more high-touch models. This report helps organizations hoping to better understand what they can expect from their smart pump and EMR integration.

Slow and Steady

Ever since KLAS’ first report on smart pump and EMR interoperability, we have seen slow and steady growth in the adoption of the technology in this segment. The slower adoption rate of this market has been a little surprising considering the direct relation it has to patient safety and the number of organizations who have expressed the goal to achieve interoperability. What really kills the driving force is the cost of interoperability and the competing provider priorities. Smart pump and EMR interoperability is primarily being driven today by pump vendors and providers who value the safety benefits. The EMR vendors who do have functional bidirectional pump interoperability, Cerner and Epic, tend to work with the largest, most advanced health systems. These organizations are often on the cutting edge of new technology and patient safety.

We were happy to see that since our last report, smart pump and EMR interoperability has seen meaningful developments. There has been new traction with other EMR vendors, such as Meditech MEDITECH and Allscripts, going live and new bidirectional pumps coming onto the market. It will also be interesting to see the growth of new interoperable sites like those of Baxter and Smiths.

Factors of Success and Frustration

As we’ve conducted our research, change management and organization-wide buy-in have been two main themes that have emerged as telling factors of organizations’ satisfaction with smart pump technology. Organizations who strive for broad adoption—not just adoption in one department or one hospital, but across all departments at the organization—often report having more success. Yes, broad adoption is a bit harder and has more steps, but there is value there, and those organizations are going to be more successful in the long run.

Organizations that do a limited rollout may not invest the resources into training and Wi-Fi improvements that are essential to ensure successful adoption and problem mitigation with this technology.

Future of Interoperability

In this market, there is room for smart pump vendors to expand their interoperability. Possible developments could be made in real-time location tracking, alert management systems, and integration with other pharmacy systems. Also, no single pump vendor is currently the market leader for all three of the main kinds of pumps: large volume pumps, PCA pumps, and syringe pumps. A vendor with all three would be able to drive almost comprehensive adoption for all infusion types for their customers.

Many questions remain as to whether other pump vendors are going to be able to streamline the process to adopt this technology and build out more infusion workflows. Regardless, we will hopefully expect to see the same continual, steady growth in this market segment.

Read more about our research on customer satisfaction regarding the different smart pump and EMR vendor combinations in our full report.


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