Intermountain Healthcare commits to needle-free inpatient blood draw

The health system, with 22 hospitals, is first in nation to turn to non-invasive technology.
By Bernie Monegain
11:42 AM

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare is the first healthcare system in the country to take the needle out of drawing blood across its 22 hospitals.

In announcing the move, Intermountain executives said it is part of the health system’s commitment to transform healthcare and to give top care while also providing more humane inpatient blood draws.

The health system’s leaders expect the move will establish a new national standard for patient and practitioner-centered care and quality.

“It is baffling that in an era of smartphones and space travel, clinicians draw blood by penetrating a vein with a needle,” Todd Dunn, director of Innovation at Intermountain’s Transformation Lab, said in a statement. “Through our Design for People program, we resolved to find a better way for our phlebotomists and nurses to more humanely and consistently draw blood.”

[Also: Intermountain, Oxeon launch startup Empiric Health]

The needle free technology, called PIVO, comes from San Francisco-based Velano Vascular. It connects to an exterior IV catheter, commonly used for hospitalized patients. PIVO makes it possible for practitioners to extract blood from the vein.

The rollout comes after two years of clinical collaboration.

“Blood draws are critical, common elements in modern medicine, but they cause an unnecessary amount of anxiety, pain and risk due to the use of century-old technology and practice,” Intermountain Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive Kim Henrichsen, said in a statement. “This commitment to standardizing draws will enhance quality for both patients and practitioners.”

Inpatient blood draws occur nearly 500 million times a year in the U.S. They inform more than 70 percent of all medical decisions, according to Intermountain. Also, vein access is considered difficult for 30 percent of the U.S. hospital patient population due to obesity, age and disease.

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