Meaningful use incentive funding has been a big (and somewhat confusing) topic in the medical device world and is something we've touched on before. Generally, when discussing meaningful use, the systems in question are things like electronic medical records (EMRs)that's the biggie as well as peripheral systems to that, such as high-acuity information systems. Recently though, another angle of this program was brought up to me: infusion pumps.
Infusion pumps are probably most well known (and appreciated) for their ability to deliver pain medication, even though they have the capability of doing a lot more, such as delivering chemotherapy drugs or nutrition. Although the connection may not be initially obvious, the infusion pump market is benefitting from the shift toward a more digitalized hospital scenario many newer infusion pumps actually come with smart capabilities, such as drug libraries, and are able to interact with other systems in the hospitals. As a result, as more hospitals move to implement EMRs to receive meaningful use incentive funding, they will also increasingly adopt these high-tech (more expensive) infusion pumps.
As an aside, the infusion pump market is also being supported by the fact that recent research is increasingly showing that using these pumps actually saves costs for the hospital relative to using narcotics. And let's not forget the obvious bonus that these pumps can actually manage pain more effectively.
Big news in the medical device world often tends to center on fancy crazy new treatments and devices, or big controversies. But let's take a moment to appreciate the growing adoption of smaller more basic technologies that might make your next hospital stay more comfortable.