Smart Medication Delivery Systems

Completed February 2012


Smart pumps are a new generation of intravenous infusion pump. These new pump attempt to reduce intravenous medication administration errors through the use of built-in software safeguards that alert users to potential programming errors. Combined with several other features (e.g., wireless connectivity, continuous quality improvement software, barcode identification systems), smart pumps play a central role in what can be called a smart medication delivery system.

Three high fidelity simulated experiments were conducted alongside field evaluations to collect evidence on the effectiveness, and safety of smart infusion systems.

This work concludes that smart pump systems can, and should, play a significant role in hospitals’ patient safety agendas. However, major improvements in a number of core areas are required before Ontario hospitals can be assured that investments in smart pump systems are providing value-for-money.

Funding Agency

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Refereed Journals:

Trbovich, P.L., Cafazzo, J.A., Easty, A.C. (In press). Implementation of smart pump infusion systems. Journal for Healthcare Quality. Accepted for publication Oct 2011.

Pinkney, S., Trbovich, P., Fan, M., Rothwell, S., Cafazoo, J., Easty, A. (2010). Do smart pumps actually reduce medicaiton errors? Human Factors Horizons, Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology 2010. 64-69.

Trbovich, P. L., Pinkney, S., Cafazzo, J.A. and Easty, A. C. (2010). The impact of traditional and smart pump infusion technology on nurse medication administraiton performance in a simulated inpatient unit. Journal of Quality and Safety in Healthcare. 19 (5), 430-434.

Refereed Proceedings

Pinkney, S., Fan, M., Rothwell, S., Trbovich, P., Easty, A. (2010, Jun). Smart pumps: Maximizing safety through effective design and training. Proceedings of the Canadian Medical & Biological Engineering Conference (CMBEC), [CD-ROM].

Research Reports

Fan, M., Pinkney, S., Trbovich, PL., Easty, A. (2010). Smart medication delivery systems: Infusion pumps – Supplementary Report. Retrieved from:

Fan, M. (2009). Measuring the impact of human factors and education informed training on the safety and efficiency of smart infusion technology. University of Toronto. Retrieved from:

Rothwell, S., (2009). Effect of dose error reduction software on the ability of nurses to safely and efficiently administer intravenous medications. University of Toronto.

Trbovich, P.L., Jeon, J., & Easty, A. (2009). Smart medication delivery systems: Infusion Pumps. Retrieved from:


University Health Network

Medical Advisory Secretariat, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC)

Project Team

Jennifer Jeon

Sonia Pinkney

Patricia Trbovich


Mark Fan (student)

Sarah Rothwell (student)

For more information about this project, contact:

Patricia Trbovich