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How a new piece of plastic could help Centura use 880,000 fewer needles next year

By Jensen Werley for Denver Business Journal — November 27, 2019

A small piece of plastic that Centura Health has rolled out to all of its Colorado hospitals is expected to not only make the patient experience better but improve the safety of patients and staff.

The PIVO is a device manufactured by San Francisco-based Velano Vascular. It’s a needle-free, single-use device that connects to a patient’s intravenous line. It has a small flow tube inside that, with a gentle push of a switch, can go past the catheter tip and into a vein to collect a blood sample that isn’t contaminated and is virtually pain-free. The blood is then deposited in a sample container. The PIVO name is a riff on peripheral intravenous line, or “PIV.”

Centura recently deployed the device at its St. Anthony North campus in Westminster, culminating a year of rolling out PIVO across its Colorado hospitals.

The PIVO brings some much-needed innovation to the process of blood collection. The last major innovation happened in 1949, according to Centura, when the vacutainer — the vacuum-seal test tubes used in blood draws — was invented.

“Lab draws have not changed at all in 70 years,” said Misty Russell, the house wide educator at St. Anthony North, who gave Denver Business Journal a demonstration of how the PIVO works. “Finally, someone came up with something to take the poke out of it.

The decision to adopt the PIVO started with some word-of-mouth praise for the device. A senior vice president at Centura found out about it because his mother was hospitalized at an Intermountain Healthcare facility in Utah, which was using them. He was so blown away by the PIVO, he sent a team of nurses from Littleton Hospital along with Centura’s vice president of lab to Utah to see it in action.

“They came back, and they were like, ‘We have to have this for patients,’” said Dawn Bloemen, strategic emerging technology analyst at Centura and the project manager for the PIVO implementation. “It was a no-brainer when it came to patient experience and improving their hospital stay.”

Centura is aiming to provide a “one-stick” hospital experience for its patients, who would be stuck a single time with an IV before nurses could use the PIVO device for any future blood draws. It can make a big difference for patients, who are sometimes subject to as many as 20-30 needles during their stay. The PIVO is currently sized for pediatric as well as adult patients.

There’s also a safety component: The fewer needles that are used for lab draws, the less likely it is that a nurse, phlebotomist or staff member is accidentally stuck themselves. That’s a big deal, as any accidental puncture means a two-year regimen of testing to make sure they didn’t contract a disease or illness. Centura is already seeing results. One hospital that had 12 accidental needle sticks in a rolling 12-month period has lowered that number to zero since implementing PIVO.

Rolling out the device to 17 Centura hospitals took a year. Colorado state law says that phlebotomists can’t work on IV lines, so nurses were taught how to use PIVO and phlebotomists were kept on staff as a backup, in case the device doesn’t work. The hope is this will be rare — the goal is to hit a rate of between 80% and 90% of blood draws done with PIVO.

Since October 2018, when Centura started the rollout at Littleton, the system has removed 380,000 nurse draws. Now that every site is live, it estimates it will remove more than 880,000 needles from the workplace in a year.

Looking ahead, Bloemen said she expects the PIVO to be considered a best practice at hospitals in the future. She added that the hospital system is waiting for Velano to put a smaller device on the market, that can be used for neonatal patients. Centura will also continue to train new staff on the PIVO and track numbers and the patient experience.

“The patient is behind every single needle-stick,” Bloemen said. “They feel the fear and anxiety with every single one. So that’s why we adopted this PIVO device. It is centered around our patient.”

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