Pfizer's Hospira launches first patient-controlled pain pump integrated into EMR

LifeCare PCA 7.0 Infusion System--Courtesy of Hospira

Despite all the innovation in med tech on so many fronts, it's often a slow process to see those efforts incorporated into patient care in a way that could improve their treatment and aid healthcare providers. Now, Hospira is debuting a device that seems a no-brainer in terms of making routine hospital care more efficient--and potentially safer.

The company, which was acquired by Pfizer ($PFE) last fall for about $16 billion, is launching the first patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) infusion pump that's integrated into electronic medical records. The device, known as LifeCare PCA 7.0 Infusion System, allows for autoprograming of the pump and streamlines documentation of infusion data--which could help improve the efficiency and safety of pain management.

Pfizer is reportedly taking offers for the Hospira pumps and devices business that could raise as much as $2 billion. Final bids are reportedly due in this month; bidders have been said to include Smiths Group, Fresenius and PE firm Pamplona Capital.

"Hospira is proud to deliver the first PCA smart pump that can integrate directly with the EMR," Julie Sawyer Montgomery, president of U.S. Infusion Systems at Hospira, said in a statement. "With the new integration capabilities and enhanced cybersecurity features, the clearance of LifeCare PCA 7.0 ushers in a new phase in IV-EMR connectivity and pain management therapy."

The company said this is also the first PCA pump to integrate bar code identification of drug vials, both prefilled and pharmacy-filled. That's expected to help reduce medication errors, which are estimated to harm 1.5 million people in the U.S. and cost $21 billion annually. The idea is to ensure that the correct drug is administered at the right dose and concentration.

"Because the LifeCare PCA 7.0 system allows integration to the order in the EMR, it will help us minimize risk associated with a nurse or clinician manually programming an infusion pump," said Tina Suess, the manager of medication safety integration at Lancaster General Health, a Pennsylvania hospital that's adopted the pump.

Added Dr. Michael Ripchinski, chief quality and medical information officer at Lancaster: "It also enables improvement in the safety of administering high-risk narcotics. Improvements in the safety and efficacy of pain management have become a critical issue for institutions across the country. Integrating the LifeCare PCA 7.0 to the EMR increases transparency for clinicians, especially when changing patients from intravenous to oral medications."

- here is the release