Medical devices meet IT | Infusion therapy | Digital health technology

infusion therapy

The intermixing of integrated and enterprising solutions for medical devices in the IT space have created the much-needed opportunity to tackle the modern day problems in patient care. One such aspect is infusion therapy.

Infusion therapy involves the administration of medication through a needle or catheter. It is prescribed when a patient’s condition is so severe that he cannot be treated via oral medications. Hence it is a crucial part of the critical care unit and requires considerable research, development, and innovation.

Karsten Bachman

  • Braun Melsungen Ag is a German medical and pharmaceutical device company, which has offices and facilities in more than 50 countries. Its headquarters are located in the small town of Melsungen, in central Germany. Their latest venture is state of the art infusion pumps, which are divided into two verticals- Syringe Pump and Volumetric Pump, both of which can support all kinds of infusion therapies. One of biggest advantages of this system is that it can be implemented as a whole. Hence the entire hospital can be run using one system.

Space pumps are stacked together vertically in a space station. Some of the key features of the space station are:

  • One interface for up to 24 pumps at the bedside
  • Wired and wireless Ethernet Interface
  • One data protocol for Workspace and single pumps
  • Equipped with SpaceCom, which is the connectivity interface linked to the hospital network. The connectivity interfaces include WLAN 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz & 5GHz, TCP/IP RJ45, USB for barcode reader and RS 232.
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Single Pump is also equipped with a lot of features, including wireless technology, WLAN module integrated within the battery module, wireless communication during transport and easy upgrade of existing pumps. The data communication concept used is extremely user-friendly and supports Uni & bi-directional data transfer along with auto-programming function.

Some of the companies with realized connections to hospital information systems include GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, Cerner and iMDsoft.

The main idea behind this innovation is to make a clinical workflow more efficient and user-friendly. On such vertical is barcoding workflow. The objective behind barcoding workflow is to transfer all the relevant therapy data into the pumps without having to enter flow rate, dosage, tracking information, etc. manually.

  • The bar code process starts with an electronic order entry at a computerized physician order entry (CPOE).
  • Barcodes are then printed according to proper format with print management coming into effect.
  • Next, the syringes are then labeled with the bar code along with the patient details like patient ID, drug name, drug concentration, etc.
  • The barcode scanner is used at the SpaceCom with 2D and linear barcodes being supported. Accordingly, the particular pump is chosen, and the patient is identified using the patient ID tag.
  • If in case the medication information is split into multiple bar codes, the scanning process can be repeated several times.
  • Finally, the patient ID is checked with the syringe pump, and in case if any mismatch the scanning process is canceled.

Space OnlineSuite:

It is a customizable and scalable server solution and provides a platform for appropriate applications to support the daily clinical working routine and improve the processes during infusion therapy. A few applications submitted via OnlineSuite include- OneView, Drug Library Manager, Upload Manager, Device Manager and DoseTrac.

Fresenius Kabi

Since inception, the infusion devices was a realm of nurses or bio-medical engineers and personnel, but now there has been a significant ramp up in the role of the IT department in the decision-making and selection process of medical devices.

The entire health care platform is becoming complicated day by day, and with the addition of numerous verticals within the system, organization and management become involved. Until a few years back, the sale of pumps was just streamlined to the model of finishing the stock of shoes and getting it replaced, but things have now changed drastically. There has been a paradigm shift from infusion pumps to injection systems. Injection systems incorporate the entire ecosystem of information technology, accessibility, communication and medical interfaces into one standard application.

While going through technology restructuring within a health care organization, there are a lot of parameters that need to be considered, both on the weak side as well as the hospital, that is, internal aspect. Hence some issues need to be answered before the technology overhaul takes place within the organization. But the million dollar question still looming at large is,”Why is there a need to connect medical devices in and around the hospital?”

There are three fundamental arguments to answer this question.


Sl No For Patients & Clients For Hospital Management
1. Improves Clinical Outcome

  • Eliminate medication errors
  • Provide quicker alerts to impending conditions
Improve Financial Outcomes

  • Leverages investments in information technology systems.
  • Reduce costs and increases revenue by improving productivity and reducing paperwork.
2. Improve Workflows

  • Decrease workload at the bedside
  • Saved nursing time and making patient care more efficient
  • Increase nurse job satisfaction


The medical devices in the hospital are connected to a network through a server which facilitates efficient communication. The interfacing is done using various protocols depending on the requirement of the hospital infrastructure. The important aspect that is being overlooked in most cases is the fundamental reason for such a technology makeover and the viability of the solution chosen for it.

Auto Programming and Auto Documentation is an additional feature that is incorporated into the company. This feature represents a bi-directional flow of information and data. Auto-documentation deals only with reporting of infusion data to various systems and Auto Programming representing just the reverse, where data is sent to the device.

Agilia Connect- A next generation wireless platform providing wired connectivity working through a central server using various applications like- monitoring drug libraries, inventory control, drug use and device tracking.

Guillaume Calmon

The infusion process is not just limited to administering the medicine; it also includes management peripherals like procuring, acquiring and then giving the medication.

Medication management is a vital prospect in the health care domain, and the reason for its importance is because of overly complex systems leading to medication errors. For example,

  • Error in CPOE
  • Illegible prescriptions
  • Misleading abbreviations
  • Drug confusions
  • Inaccurate labelling
  • Dosage error
  • Error in drug administration

Statistically, a lower limit of 210,000 deaths per year was associated with preventable harm in hospitals in the United States. When we look into different stages of medication management, namely-Prescribing, Transcribing, Dispensing & Distribution and Administration. The administration has shown a huge 2% interception of errors from a total of 38% of errors occurred.

Smart pump:

A quick pump is an infusion pump equipped with Dose Error Reduction System (DERS), which is a safety software incorporating soft and hard limits for the dosage.  It is aimed to decrease adverse drug administration event and to reduce the cost associated with medication errors.

Alaris communication engine:

The centralized server connected to the pumps via the docking station, which provides housing for the pumps. This connection may or may not be wireless, but the important aspect here is that all the data being transferred is encrypted. Hence the cyber security issue is also addressed by this engine.

The proposed value proposition by the company has a few key points, namely:

  • Reduced Costs- Holistic inventory management
  • Efficient and safe preparation and dispensing
  • Reduced medication errors/associated costs
  • Automatic documentation- Connectivity to EMR system


Speakers: Karsten Bachman, Fresenius Kabi, Guillaume Calmon

Video URL:

Upload Date: 4th December 2015

Video code: RS191115 01

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