News Details

U.S. medication safety expert will give keynote talk at Regenstrief Center's fall conference

October 15, 2012


A national leader in the area of medication safety will be the speaker next week at the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering's fall conference focused on the use of infusion pumps in health-care settings.

Allen Vaida, executive vice president for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and an expert in hospital and pharmacy systems and management, will speak at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 24 in conjunction with the conference, titled The Wizard Behind the Curtain: Maximizing the Safe Use of Smart Pumps.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will run from 8-10 a.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union's East/West Faculty Lounges. Vaida's presentation and conference coincide with a fall workshop led by Regenstrief, bringing together members of the Infusion Pump Informatics Community at Purdue to discuss key issues in medication administration safety.

To register, go online to

"Infusion pumps, also known as smart pumps, are becoming more common in hospitals and provide important safeguards in assuring patient safety," said Regenstrief director Steve Witz. "But they also are one of the many alert-generating equipment pieces in a hospital room with which hospital staff must interact."

Regenstrief is partnering with several major Midwestern hospitals through Purdue's Infusion Pump Informatics to develop safety standards for smart pumps, which have become commonplace in the past decade for administering drugs to patients. Through RCHE's Web-based tool, users can easily share analysis, data reporting and best practices for smart pumps.

Today, an estimated 2 million smart pumps are in hospitals and clinics and thousands more are used by patients in their homes, offering a variety of designs to intravenously deliver nutrition, fluids and drugs like pain medications, insulin and cancer treatments.

The pumps come with a programmable computer to control the rate and volume of medication flow, which can vary depending on the patient's illness, weight, age and other factors. A doctor, nurse or other health-care worker enters information on the infusion pump's keypad.

Despite their advantages, the FDA reports that infusion pumps were linked to more than 56,000 adverse event reports from 2005-2009, including more than 700 deaths.

As executive director of the Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), Vaida is part of the nation's only nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention and safe medication use. The organization represents more than 35 years of experience in helping health-care practitioners keep patients safe and continues to lead efforts to improve the medication-use process.

Its medication error prevention efforts began in 1975 with a groundbreaking and continuing column in "Hospital Pharmacy" that increases understanding and educates health-care professionals and others about medication error prevention. In 2009 ISMP celebrated the 15th anniversary of its official incorporation as a nonprofit organization.

Before joining ISMP, Vaida served as vice president of clinical operations (chief operating officer) at Mercy Suburban Hospital in Norristown, Pa., as well as director of pharmacy and assistant vice president and director of pharmacy at Suburban General Hospital in Norristown.

Vaida also is a clinical assistant professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, assistant adjunct professor at Temple University School of Pharmacy, adjunct associate for the Centers for Heath Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University and Stanford University School of Medicine, and adjunct faculty for the Executive Patient Safety Fellowship offered through Virginia Commonwealth University.

He served on the U.S. Pharmacopeia's Safe Medication Use Expert Committee from 2000-05. Vaida received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Scranton, a bachelor's in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota.

Earlier this year, Purdue's Regenstrief Center received $10 million in additional research funding to expand its partnership with the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Foundation though 2018.

Located in Discovery Park, Purdue's hub for interdisciplinary research, the Regenstrief Center conducts research to catalyze the transformation of healthcare delivery systems by applying the principles of engineering, management, and science to healthcare system challenges.

The Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Foundation provides core research funding and support for the Regenstrief Center, enabling it to have impact on health system challenges through collaboration with health-care partners. The foundation's work supports the legacy of Sam Regenstrief’s vision: The continued improvement of the health-care delivery system.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Source: Steve Witz, 765-496-8303,

Related websites: 
Maximizing the Safe Use of Smart Pumps

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