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Union Hospital Reports Infusion Safety and Patient Experience Improvements through Implementation of Baxter's SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System

Healthcare Insights

Union Hospital, an award-winning medical center in Elkton, Md., successfully transitioned to Baxter's next generation I.V. pump, the SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System, earlier this year and quickly achieved the hospital's goals for infusion safety, ease of use and patient experience.

In 2013, Union's Quality and Safety Council identified their priority capabilities for a new infusion system: infusion safety and the ability to achieve the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' ‎mandate to limit device alarms. Additionally, the Quality and Safety council wanted to be certain that their new pumps met or exceeded their regulatory needs.

SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System was initially of interest because it offers automatic start up in the drug library, so clinicians do not have to opt into the key safety feature. The drug library is a hospital-developed list of all infusion medications and their safe dosing ranges for each care unit. The library is contained within each pump, providing standard dosing ranges and safety alerts when medical orders fall outside of those ranges. These drug library alerts are designed to help prevent programming errors and promote patient safety.

The council's pharmacists also liked that SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System's drug library capabilities would support their infusion safety goals, including the ability to create entries for each medication and incorporate titration limits.

The selection council held a pump fair, providing Union's healthcare professionals with the opportunity to trial different infusion systems. Eighty-three percent of participants preferred Baxter's SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System, most frequently citing the device's ease of use.

From the first day of implementation these devices have proven to be an asset to Union.  In-depth, hands-on training helped care providers adapt quickly to using the new system at the bedside. The team at Union quickly began seeing the patient experience and safety benefits they had targeted for their transition to the new pumps.

"I helped switch the pumps on the morning of the transition and figured it would be a stressful day, but it was a smooth transition," said Melissa Otteni, BSN, RN, WCC educator for Medical Specialty and Surgical Specialty Units, IV infusion.

Union's nurses are pleased with the pump's smaller size and the intuitive programming that allows them to start the infusion quickly.  "In addition to the benefits associated with the drug library, these pumps are easier to connect to the pole and maneuver," Otteni added.

Within one week of implementation, Union exceeded its drug library compliance goal with the library accounting for more than 98 percent of infusions programmed at the hospital. Drug library compliance is the measure of how many infusions are programmed within the device's identified safe dosing ranges. A fully developed drug library drives the consistent use of the pump's key safety features.

Union's compliance reports from the first day of implementation showed they were at 93 percent. The team went floor to floor, doing rounds, to identify pumps that were infusing outside the library. They asked for feedback, updated the drug library and transferred the new information to the pumps. They were able to achieve 98 percent drug library compliance quickly and to achieve an even higher compliance rate than the previous system.

The new system is also supporting Union's alarms management goals.

"With these pumps, we saw our patients' experience improve with the reduction in alarm frequency, and fewer disruptions during the night," said Cathleen Butenewicz, (MSN, BSN, NE-BC, Director of Patient Care Services. "Spectrum really has been a huge satisfier for our staff, patients and visitors."

The SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System is currently being used or in the process of being placed in six of the top seven hospital systems in the U.S. as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Baxter has launched this next generation pump throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Baxter and SIGMA Spectrum are trademarks of Baxter International Inc.