TABLE 1.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 4 Approaches for Reducing Infusion Errors

ApproachAdvantagesDisadvantages
Rule of 6Makes calculation of initial dose/rate easyRequires individualized concentrations, resulting in increased frequency and complexity of preparation
Facilitates volume adjustment for low-weight patientsOften difficult to use when making dose/rate changes
Practitioners must remember slightly different formulas for different medications
Standard concentrationsFewer concentrations preparedRequires more complex initial dose calculation
Reduces number of steps required to prepare dripOften difficult to use when making dose/rate changes
Simplifies medication orderingLimits choices of volume and rate that can be delivered
Reduces costs
Improves pharmacy quality control
Dosing chartsMinimizes need to perform calculations, reducing risk of calculation errorsSubstitutes risk of perceptual tracking errors for risk of calculation errors
Limited range of values unless tables are large
Smart pumpsEliminates need for calculationsHigh initial capital expenditure
Alerts for out-of-range entriesLikelihood of selection errors increases with number of different concentrations available in drug library
Drug libraries and default settings facilitate selection of correct medication and dose
Better information display and feedback