Infusion is the most used technology in hospitals. Because of its widespread application, often in critical situations and by many users, many infusion errors are made, with some having severe effects. A large percentage of these errors can be avoided if the users of infusion technology have a better understanding of the equipment. This is especially the case in neonatology, where multiple pump infusion is typically combined with low flow rates.

MeDD II EMPIR project

The new Joint Research Project – MeDD II, Metrology for drug delivery funded under the EMPIR program of the European Commission starts in June 2019, will last for three years involving 15 partners, including: 9 National and Designated Metrology Institutes (IPQ- Portugal, CETIAT – France, CMI – Chez Republic, DTI – Denmark, METAS – Switzerland, NEL – United Kingdom, NQIS – Greece, RISE – Sweden and KRISS – Korea), 4 companies (DNV GL – The Netherlands, HSG-IMIT – Germany, INESC MN – Portugal, BHT – The Netherlands) and 2 University Hospitals (THL – Germany, UMCU – The Netherlands).

This project is coordinated by IPQ, the Portuguese Institute of Quality and has the overall objective to improve dosing accuracy and to enable the traceable measurement of volume, flow and pressure in existing drug delivery devices and in-line sensors operating at very low flow rates. This will be achieved through the development of new calibration methods and by expanding the existing metrological infrastructure. This project will also investigate fast changing flow rates, which are step changes between two flow rates within a second, the physical properties of mixtures of liquids and occlusion phenomena in multi-infusion systems in order to prevent inaccurate measurement results and thus to improve patient safety.

Joint Research Project

Between 2012 and 2015, a consortium of 7 metrology institutes, the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Lübeck University of Applied Sciences worked successfully on the development of a metrological infrastructure for accurate drug delivery using infusion. More specifically, drug delivery involving low flow rates (lower than 10 ml/h) and ultra-low flow rates (0.5 ml/h), which is of importance, especially in neonatology. For further details about this project, please have a look at Program JRP.

In addition to the development of the metrological infrastructure in the initial JRP, the researchers investigated parameters that influence the accuracy of the treatment. This included parameters that are related to human behaviour and equipment, e.g. the compliance of syringes.

Support for Impact project

Following this initial project, the consortium would like to share their knowledge and experience gained with the neonatology and IC community in Europe to help improve the accuracy in drug delivery for vulnerable patients.

Therefore, between 2016 and 2019, the consortium will carry out a second, Support for Impact (SIP), project, focusing on sharing knowledge on the risks and best practices related to infusion technology through:

  • upgrading and disseminating the e-learning training course on infusion technology;
  • articles, trainings and workshops;
  • incorporating the best metrology practices relating to calibration of infusion devices standards.

The wider impact of the project is a reduced number of adverse patient incidents related to infusion technology, especially in neonatology where multiple pump infusion is typically combined with low flow rates.