Understanding how IV pumps are Programmed

IV pumps continue to revolutionize dosage delivery since their invention in the early 1960’s. The leap in technology advancement within the industry led to the development of ‘intelligent pumps.’ The latest brands integrate electronic medical records (EMR) with dosage delivery systems. These programs increase the efficiency in dispensing medication within hospitals. By 2015, over 81% of hospitals in the US utilized smart pumps for their infusions.

A trained user operates the smart infusion pump. The medical practitioners need to know how to program an IV pump correctly. The built-in software allows the setting of the rate and duration of the drug delivery through the pump. Proper programming ensures the right medication is delivered at the prescribed rate.

How To Program an IV pump

Smart technology offers two options to set the desired parameters to the Point of Care Unit (PCU). First, you can manually input the infusion rates directly on the software interface. Large hospitals have integrated systems that can automatically send pre-programmed dosage parameters to the infusion pumps.

Auto-pump programing

Interoperability in modern medical facilities is essential in improving patient care and staff productivity. That’s why some major hospitals have invested in closed-loop systems for their networks. The programs integrate Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA), Computerized Prescribed Order Entry (CPOE), and EMR systems.

The integrated medication safety system begins with the physician ordering medication into the EMR through CPOE. The Pharmacist may then verify the order and sends the dosage instruction to patients EMR.

The work of a nurse is to use the BCMA system to scan the patient’s armband, which triggers a wireless transfer of the data to the pump. The scan configures the smart pump to the patient’s details and dosage requirement. The clinician then verifies the information then runs the infusion. Auto programming increases efficiency through an accurate calculation of dose titrations by eliminating human error.

Manual Input

Most smart pump infusions utilize the ATM-like display screen to input the appropriate dosage. The medical personnel needs to undergo specialized training to understand how to program an IV pump. The nurse keys in the infusion parameters directly to the software to configure the pump.

General Guide to Manual Programing of the IV Pump

Most medical facilities utilize this method in reprograming the infusion pumps. You start by attaching the module to the PCU until you hear a click. You should also conduct priming of the IV line beforehand. You then boot the PCU and let the diagnostic checks to run.

After the checks, the interface allows you to select if the patient is new or not. If not, the wireless connection will allow access to patient previous infusion records. If the patient is new, the software guides you through choosing your department and finally accessing the drug library list for IV fluids.

You select the channel module of choice and choose the infusion type and drugs from the library. The interface allows you to input the rate and volume of infusion parameters. You then verify the order and hit the start/run button. The smart pump will use the configured details to deliver a regulated dose to the patient.

Right Programming Allow For Better Patient Monitoring.

Most drugs dispensed intravenously are high-risk that require precise dose delivery. Over-infusion may cause toxicity, while under-infusion may lead to adverse effects, especially in critically ill patients. Safety protocols installed in the PCUs provide for real-time data tracking on patient’s prescription and delivery through the smart pumps.

Pharmacists can know which pump is assigned to which patient, the infusion delivered, and IVs yet to be cleared for infusion. Recent advancement in technology has led to the integration of intelligent pumps with alarm management systems.

With hundreds of IV alarms going off throughout their shifts, most medical officers may respond in time to all the warnings. The alarm systems send a notification to the practitioner’s smartphone, tablet, or pager if there is an issue with the IV. The fast communication systems reduce the response time and the noise on the hospital floors.


Smart IV pumps are essential in medication in all medical facilities. Knowing how to program an IV pump correctly may reduce the chances of dosage error and increase productivity.

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