WDHB introduces new medication administration safety net

WDHB clinical nurse educator Deborah Mudgway
WDHB clinical nurse educator Deborah Mudgway with one of the syringe drivers
27 February 2013
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) has introduced a new syringe pump software system which senior clinical staff say will make drug administration safer for patients and staff.
WDHB director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sandy Blake says the key purpose of the new software, called Guardrails, is to help staff make sure they don’t give a patient too much or too little of the drug they’re administering.
 “It’s recognised that medication errors are a serious and growing healthcare problem worldwide,” Mrs Blake says.
 “In fact internationally, medication errors are one of the highest reported hospital incidents that can cause harm.
“Fortunately the WDHB has low numbers of reported incidents of dosage errors for intravenous medication but it’s vital that we have the best systems and equipment in place to keep our patients safe.”
Besides helping to protect patients and clinicians from the consequences of medication errors, the technology behind the Guardrails software collects valuable data about what clinicians have asked the pump to do and how the pump has responded.
This data can help inform the WDHB where it can make further improvements to the way in which it administers medications.
“Hospitals recognise there are many clinical and financial advantages in investing in such a patient safety system,” Mrs Blake says. “The WDHB is pleased to have been one of the first DHBs to adopt this system.”