Infusion Pump Preventive Maintenance: Key Steps to Reduce Risk and Cut Repair Costs

Nurse assisting elderly patient with infusion pump in hospital room

Like a check-up at the doctor, preventive maintenance helps keep IV infusion pumps healthy. Routine PM procedures allow biomedical technicians to identify any issues, including less obvious problems, and address them before they require large-scale repairs or compromise patient safety.

PM protocols reduce unforeseen device downtime, lower overall repair costs, and provide lots of valuable data for HTM departments. This data helps identify specific hospital areas associated with greater infusion pump risk, calculate the total cost of device ownership, and determine whether it's more appropriate to repair or replace infusion equipment.

Device manufacturers provide a step-by-step guide to conducting PM procedures–and each of these steps is essential for effective maintenance. But successful prevention goes beyond instructions printed in the OEM manual. When patient lives are at stake, it makes sense to go the extra mile regarding infusion pump maintenance.

5 steps that enhance preventive maintenance for infusion pumps

The following suggestions can help take infusion pump maintenance to a higher level, resulting in tangible benefits for both patients and the bottom line.

1. Provide clinician education

The primary cause of infusion pump damage occurs during daily operations. Clinician education in proper cleaning and handling procedures can dramatically reduce the need for repairs.

According to an article published by the American Nurse Journal, the official publication of the American Nurses Association, all clinicians using infusion pumps should demonstrate competency in “the use of smart pump equipment, including knowledge of indications, contraindications, and manufacturers’ instructions.” The article recommends device care and maintenance education for new hires and current clinical staff.

Clinician training should include:

  • Cleaning and disinfection between patients
  • Device inspection before, during, and after use
  • Protocols for removing, labeling, and reporting compromised equipment
  • Avoiding workarounds

Regular clinician assessments in care and maintenance are also recommended. Reviewing device data from each department can identify gaps in clinician knowledge, so that additional training can be given to the appropriate staff, if needed.

2. Stay on top of software updates

Software updates affect medication delivery and patient safety. BMETs should be aware of the current software version of the infusion device and know where to find the latest software updates.

3. Attend to pump alarms

The most critically ill patients may experience up to 45 alarms per hour. Clinicians and BMETs who attend to alarms promptly help keep infusion devices calibrated. When infusion pumps are properly calibrated, they’re more likely to function well.

4. Respond to recalls and alerts

The FDA maintains a medical device recall database and offers an email subscription to medical device safety communications. These tools help BMETs respond quickly when an infusion pump model needs a fix or should be taken off the floor. Even if the issue is minor, swiftly responding to alerts and recalls may prevent a much bigger problem.

5. Perform preventive repairs

Proactively replacing specific infusion pump parts susceptible to wear and tear can significantly decrease high-cost repairs during the device lifecycle.

Consider preventive replacement of these infusion pump parts:

  • Motors
  • Clutch assemblies
  • Casings
  • Keypads
  • Bezel posts

For the safest, most cost-effective solution, perform preventive repairs with OEM-quality replacement parts. If OEM components are priced too high or aren’t available, select a 3rd-party manufacturer that makes OEM quality parts in the USA. This ensures that replacement parts fit and function optimally. Consider keeping these common parts in stock at the facility, which saves BMET labor hours and minimizes device downtime.

Reminders and tips for routine PM procedures

Most OEMs recommend performing annual PM procedures. Be sure to allow enough time for routine infusion pump PM and follow each step as the OEM directs.

Tips and reminders for more effective PM include:

  • Check operability of testing equipment before beginning
  • Look for hairline fractures in casings and bezel posts
  • Clean the inside of the glass after each test to remove residual fluid
  • Check fluid volume at eye level
  • Be aware of “keep vein open” features, which affect the flow rate
  • Test actual flow rates used in clinical departments and OEM recommended rates
  • Don’t forget to inspect and clean power cords

Take the time to obtain actual flow rates used by clinical departments and test at these rates, as well as the rates suggested by the manufacturer. This allows for a closer approximation of real-world device functionality and provides a benchmark for comparison.

Additional infusion pump training for BMETs

Clinicians aren’t the only staff who benefit from additional infusion pump training. BMET training on specific infusion device models provides a thorough understanding of pump specifications, functions, common issues, and solutions. This gives BMETs the best chance of discovering and correcting problems before they lead to expensive repairs or life-threatening malfunctions.

Continuing education can also help address the ongoing BMET shortage by bridging the gap between retiring BMETs and younger technicians. Look for courses conducted by experienced techs. Elite Biomedical Solutions offers customized, in-house training programs taught by level 2 and 3 biomedical technicians.

Maintenance isn’t just for techs

BMETs are responsible for the comprehensive assessment and servicing of infusion devices, while the task of daily care and maintenance primarily rests on nurses and other clinical staff.

When designing policies that optimize infusion pumps for safety, healthcare organizations can incorporate extra effort regarding care and maintenance. Health technology managers should also plan ahead and use a team approach to integrate those policies into clinician and BMET workflows effectively.

Elite Biomedical Solutions proudly manufactures infusion pump parts in the USA. With patient safety as our highest priority, our high-quality products keep infusion pumps up and running and boost device lifespan. Please contact us for more information about Elite’s exceptional parts, expert repair support, or customized BMET courses.

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