Smartphones and Smart Pump/EMR Integration: Making the Switch

Providers report that switching to smart pump/EMR integration is not easy, but the results and increase in patient safety make the effort worthwhile.

A year and a half ago, I made the switch from my old, generic flip phone to a new iPhone 4S. Regardless of which phone platform you prefer, many of you have been through this exact same scenario. Though I had an emotional connection to my old, beat-up phone, the capabilities and benefits of a smartphone ultimately drew me in. However, becoming proficient with my new phone took longer than expected—even calling someone took longer since I no longer had a normal keypad.

Fast forward to today and my only question is, why didn’t I switch to a smartphone sooner? Although the learning curve wasn’t easy, once I knew what I was doing, my life suddenly became noticeably easier: I had fewer scheduling conflicts thanks to the calendar; I found where I was going quicker thanks to the GPS and Internet; and I dialed fewer wrong numbers thanks to the integrated contact list.

Similarly, the switch to smart pump/EMR integration may not be easy, but according to providers who have made the switch, it is well worth it. Providers report significant improvements in patient safety thanks to the elimination of keystrokes.

One CIO related the following experience to me: “In just the first six months of being live with the pumps, our high-risk overrides decreased by 47%; reprogrammed infusions decreased by 43%. . . . Basically all of our numbers are better. We did a six-month check and saw our armband scanning go up substantially as well, from about 36% for IVs to about 75%.”  

In terms of adoption, Cerner is the current iPhone in the market as the EMR for over three-quarters of the providers live today, integrating with B. Braun, Baxter, CareFusion, and Hospira. Epic is the only other commercial EMR vendor currently doing EMR/pump integration.

How quickly will pump and EMR vendors be able to roll this functionality out to providers? Will the adoption of smart pump/EMR integration be comparable to the adoption of smartphones? Will a governmental directive make some mention of integration? While many questions are still unclear, the fact is that providers who have made the switch are glad they have.

Share your experiences with smart pumps; be heard and be counted.

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