Press and Media

EMPIR Project Provides Guidance for Healthcare Professionals During COVID 19 Response

1 July 2020


Medical Infusion

The need for flow measurement is vital in many sectors, but most recently with the spotlight on healthcare during the Coronavirus pandemic, the unprecedented conditions and challenges faced by hospitals has meant accurate, traceable flow measurement for drug delivery has become even more in focus.

In these extraordinary times, new measures are being implemented in some healthcare settings, including the use of drug delivery devices outside the patient’s room and postponement of maintenance and calibration schedules.  These measures are taken with patient care as the main priority, but they can lead to reduced dosing accuracy that can result in adverse incidents, morbidity and mortality.

In response to the recent challenges faced by healthcare workers worldwide, members of the EURAMET EMPIR Metrology for Drug Delivery MeDD II project consortium, including TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, National Measurement and Designated Institutes, research institutes, device manufacturers and hospitals from across Europe, have published a case study report and flyer to highlight specific metrological and clinical physics guidance on newly-adopted COVID-19-related measures implemented in some European hospitals for patients receiving drug therapies through infusion pumps. 

This report highlights a number of key areas of concern and identifies appropriate guidance to minimise the risk of dosing errors.  To reduce exposure of healthcare professionals and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), in some hospital settings, infusion pumps are being set up outside patient rooms using extension tubing.  However, this has an impact on flow accuracy, especially at the low flow rates required for some infusion therapies.  In addition, shortages of syringe infusion pumps in some cases has resulted in instances of their substitution for lower accuracy volumetric pumps.  Finally, delays in periodic equipment maintenance and calibration is also raised as a concern due to the potential negative effects on patient care arising from inaccurate device performance.  Full details of the issues and guidance is set out in the case study report. 

“As the UK’s Designated Institute for Flow Measurement, we have a responsibility to provide guidance to industry on flow measurement challenges in many industry sectors and covering varying geographies” commented TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s Head of Life Sciences and Healthcare, Dr Tracy Brown.  “As part of the EURAMET EMPIR MeDD II consortium, we were well-placed to develop this guidance for healthcare settings, to help clinical teams understand the metrology risks associated with new procedures implemented to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on infusion therapies.”

Dr Emmelyn Graham, Technical Lead for MeDD II at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory commented: “The report and associated flyer provide clinicians and nursing staff with practical solutions which can be implemented easily to safeguard confidence in the use of these drug delivery devices during these challenging times.”

For further details, contact Communications Manager [email protected]

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