"One-Stick hospitalization" soon to become the standard of care
by Dennis Ernst • November 22, 2021
Long-time readers of Phlebotomy Today know what a big fan I am of PIVO, the device created by Velano Vascular that draws high-quality samples from existing IV lines. (Past articles can be accessed here and here.) When I first heard of the product back in 2017, I thought "wow, this is a real game changer." I still think so because up until then, blood drawn from vascular-access devices were notorious for being hemolyzed, up to 50% of the time, in fact. Along comes PIVO and suddenly patients with IVs don't need venipunctures because the device is red-cell friendly and dramatically reduces hemolyzed samples from line draws. It was genius.
In 2018, I met the inventor and company founder and was asked to join the Velano Vascular Advisory Panel. I jumped at the chance. After attending "PIVO University," I learned every aspect of the innovation and became even more convinced it changes everything for hospitalized patients with IVs. Better still, it created an opportunity for phlebotomists to add line draws to their skill set. True, phlebotomists cannot turn off or restart IV fluids, but with PIVO they can do everything else when it comes to a line draw, even flush the line.
A lot of people in our industry think flushing a line can only be performed by a physician or nursing professional because it constitutes administering a medication. That's a myth. The FDA, The Joint Commission, and the pharmaceutical industry all consider a saline flush to be a device, not a medication.
A nursing professional is required only to start and stop the fluids, of course, but a properly trained phlebotomists can draw the sample, then flush the line without restriction. (However, if medications were being administered prior to shutting off the fluids, a nursing professional must perform the first flush.)
In 2019, the concept of "one-stick hospitalization" became the mantra for Velano Vascular and the growing number of healthcare facilities and systems implementing the device. Some even reduced the number of venipunctures performed on patients with IVs by 70%. It's no wonder a conglomerate as massive as Becton Dickinson wanted a piece of the action. In March of this year, they not only got a piece, they bought the whole company and are positioning PIVO to become the standard of practice for obtaining blood samples from IV lines. It's a win-win-win.
When I was notified of the acquisition in March of this year, it took me by surprise. I was initially saddened that my role as an advisor was over. The product was being absorbed into BD's Infusion division, not its preanalytical division. My expertise as a laboratory professional would not likely be seen as strategic by the infusion-minded sector of the company. But I rejoice in having played some part, however small, in helping the company bring such a needed innovation to the point where it can become the standard of practice. Reducing venipunctures and improving sample quality is good for patients; giving phlebotomists a new, marketable skill set is good for the profession.
I encourage you to welcome PIVO into your blood collection processes and offer your phlebotomy expertise to fully implement it where you work. Your preanalytical expertise is essential and necessary for PIVO to meet it's promise to patients and healthcare delivery. Game-changing innovations don't come along very often, and this one is worth embracing.
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