Drug Limit Library Update Process

The Problem

Smart infusion pumps are one of many types of medical devices that work in an information technology (IT) networked clinical environment. These pumps typically utilize a drug limit library or guardrails to set limits on the dosage or rate on drug infusions. From time to time, there may be changes or updates made to the drug limit library, which is done wirelessly in most modern facilities. Therefore, it becomes a priority to ensure the interoperability of these modern medical devices and information network technologies for it is a crucial part of safe medical care delivery. However, not much is known if designed interoperability works as well in practice.


The main objectives of this project are to understand and evalute the current infusion pump update process, identify any best practices and improve the irreliability. Our research questions include:

  • What is the current infusion pump updating process?
  • Why may it take several weeks to update all the pumps in a facility?
  • What are the barriers to efficient and effective pump updates?
  • How can we improve the technology and human workflow to make the pump updates more reliable?
  • What can we learn from the drug limit library update process to inform the future of medical device interoperability in the healthcare working environment?


We start by analyzing the version of library/dataset field in the Infusion Pump Informatics alert data (of a few hospitals) and how they change over time. We will work closely with clinicians and vendors to understand the pump update workflows, both technologically and from a human factors standpoint.

Potential Impact

The results of this project will shed light on the broader question regarding the design and implementation of interoperability of future medical devices.

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