Drip Assist Infusion Monitor
IV infusions are among the most common medical procedures found in hospitals across the word. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the main infusion technologies utilized in the first world are too expensive or complex for use in hospitals and medical facilities in the developing world.
Seattle-based Shiftlabs was founded with the mission of creating cost-effective healthcare technology that could be applied the world over. The device they created was DripAssist, a fast but accurate Infusion Rate Monitor which clips onto any gravity drip set. It continuously monitors flow rate and volume when administering IV medications. The device estimates drip flow to within 1% and allows medical professionals to monitor a large number of patients without the complexity and cost of a pump.
This technology is vital in hospital environments in the emerging world, where nurses have high patient loads. If a pump is not available in hospitals in these locations, the nurse often has to count the drops by hand. This type of manual drop counting is time-consuming and inaccurate. Lengthy processes that require extensive human resources are not viable in locations where costs must be kept to a minimum.
Infrared Receiver/Transceiver: As the liquid passes through the IR receiver and transceiver, the light is blocked, which means the receiver
can not detect the signal. The device uses this method to count the drips.
LCD Screen: an easy to read display that gives visual drop-detect feedback.
The main advantages of the DripAssist are that it allows medical practitioners to both save time and money. As per the infographic below, a nurse monitoring six patients over a two-hour infusion using the DripAssist would spend half the time checking on patients than if they were using a traditional gravity infusion. This means that based on the average U.S. nurse salary, using the DripAssist, a hospital can expect to save an estimated US$ 10,051.95. per patient bed per year and 1,752 man hours.
As mentioned previously, these savings are a particular boon to medical institutions in the emerging world. The Shift Labs website testifies this through a case of the device being used in five hospitals in Haiti. Over the course of a two-month study period, 79 patients were treated for a variety of conditions and given IV infusions using the DripAssist. The device was mainly used to administer pain medicine. The responses from nurses were overwhelmingly positive, as they felt ” “with DripAssist [they are] sure the patient receives the correct dose”. The nurses wanted to see a wider application of the device in Haiti, as it allowed them to spend more time interacting with their patients and less time counting drops. Moreover, they enjoyed the peace of mind in knowing that infusions are being accurately calculated and constantly monitored.
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