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May 29, 2005

WRHA to use New "Smart Pump" Technology

Equipment to Provide Improved Patient Safety When Delivering Medication: Sale

Patient safety within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) will be enhanced with more than $4.9 million in new technology to provide safeguards for the delivery of patient medication, Health Minister Tim Sale announced today.

"This new technology will increase patient safety by alerting staff when the levels of medicine delivered intravenously are not within prescribed limits," said Sale. "These machines will create an environment of safety that reduces the potential for medical error."

The Colleague CX Volumetric Infusion Pump, also known as the Smart Pump, alerts staff if there is a problem with the dosage provided to a patient. Hospital pharmacy staff enter required medication information into the pump's drug library. When the medication is administered through the pump, this feature compares each dose entered against hospital-defined limits. If a dose is programmed outside the limits, the pump sounds an alarm. The use of Smart Pumps minimizes human programming errors.

"We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to replace and upgrade 1,200 pumps to this new technology," said Jan Currie, vice-president and chief nursing officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. "Regional standardization to the new technology ensures and promotes the WRHA's position of excellence in the provision of patient care."

Sale noted today's announcement is one of a number of health-system improvements that have already been implemented to enhance patient safety and quality health care in Manitoba including:

  • The implementation of legislation that both requires the reporting of critical incidents that may happen during the provision of health services and helps health-care providers participate fully and openly in an investigation of a critical incident;

  • the creation of the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety;
  • the requirement that personal-care homes develop a bill of rights to protect their more than 9,000 residents;

  • a process for internal disclosure of staff concerns; and
  • health authority guides to health services.

"Government must continually move forward in its goal to improve patient safety," said Sale. "Our mission is to provide better care sooner to Manitobans."

Funding for the new pumps originates from the specialized equipment portion of the federal provincial health accord agreement negotiated in 2004 by first ministers.

The upgrade to the Smart Pump is expected to begin in the fall.

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