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about how their cool imaging tools can be used to prevent improper catheter insertions. The problem with ultrasound, Schmidt says, is that it takes some training for people to get good at, and sometimes catheters need to get inserted under bones like the clavicle, and ultrasound images can’t see through the bone. A digital pressure sensor, by comparison, doesn’t require a pair of skilled hands, and it provides a definitive answer on whether a syringe is poking a vein or artery.
Still, a company like Mirador has plenty of obstacles in front of it. Many hospitals have spent years in denial, believing that improper catheter insertions are somebody else’s problem. When the events happen rarely, memories of the situation can fade, Schmidt says.
Mirador, in its early days, has found that it has to find in-house “champions” at hospitals who believe that they need to root out this problem—technically known as “inadvertent arterial cannulation.” Not only does Mirador need an internal champion at the hospital, it needs someone with real clout who can make a convincing case on its behalf to a hospital purchasing committee. “We call them champions with juice,” Schmidt says.
Mirador is clearly hoping that a few more champions with juice will read the new paper, and start advocating for more prevention of these bloody errors. Schmidt says he’s encouraged that hospitals are starting to appear more motivated to change their ways, sometimes setting up specialized teams in which nurses handle central vein catheter insertions on a regular basis, rather than have physicians do them once in a while. It’s also possible that hospitals are starting to feel the pressure of the Affordable Care Act, which is supposed to make them care less about simply doing procedures, and more about giving the patient a better result. Already, Schmidt says, you can see hospitals getting more motivated to combat hospital-acquired infections, rather than pooh-poohing them, or denying they exist.
“We’re in the beginning stages. People are beginning to realize that arterial cannulations are a big deal, and they should be doing more to prevent them. Especially when one of these examples is fresh in their mind,” Schmidt says.