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Innovation For Safepole

It’s an unpleasant truth, but all of us will probably need the assistance of an IV pole at some point in our lives. Whether recovering from an accident or undergoing difficult treatment, it’s a device that’s essential to patient mobility.

An Old Concept Gets a Modern Upgrade

While the IV pole as we know it has been around for over a century, surprisingly few improvements had been made to its utilitarian design in the passing decades; this essential piece of equipment was long overdue for a breakthrough.

Supporting the Patient by Stabilizing the Pole

After a long period of hospitalization and poor experiences with her IV pole, Safepole founder Cari Ugent approached us with her business idea to improve patients’ lives by developing a more modern and user-friendly design. While she struggled with the device herself, she also heard horror stories from doctors and nurses of IV poles tipping over and spilling expensive medications and hazardous fluids.

In order to create a better stabilized product, we began by exploring ambulatory patients’ common problems, such as unsteadiness while walking, tangled cords and tubes, and general encumbrance from the device.

Prototypes underwent tip testing with a variety of configurations – from load-free to carrying multiple pumps and IV bags

Prototypes underwent tip testing with a variety of configurations – from load-free to carrying multiple pumps and IV bags.

Achieving the end goal - more mobility and a faster recovery

The end goal of each innovation was to chip away at the many obstacles that might prevent a patient from getting out of bed – a much more important factor in recovery than many probably realize. During a long hospital stays, patients who don’t get up often enough are at higher risk for developing complications such as bedsores, circulatory problems, and pneumonia. Patients who are empowered to get up and move about on their own recover and get home faster.

Redefining what the IV pole can do

Once we had developed some working prototypes, the next step was to make sure that the new design would not only meet stringent medical standards, but surpass them in ways that would provide even more support to both patients and practitioners.

We looked deeper – also talking to nurses and patient care technicians – to find solutions that would address common (yet preventable) issues such as infusions stopping due to tangled IV lines, patient falls, pole stability when loaded with top-heavy devices, and difficulty navigating through hospital rooms that are already crowded with equipment.

The Safepole design helps address a wide variety of these issues. The increased base stability encourages ambulation, while its cover prevents the wheels from snagging on furniture and cords, or rolling over stocking feet. The features also meet the patient’s unglamorous daily needs: dual poles hold twice as many infusion pumps, telescoping poles help nurses easily change medication bags, an IV tube router prevents lines from becoming entangled and crimped, the on-board power strip ensures that the patient need only unplug from a single outlet when they want to walk around, and the oxygen tank holder eliminates the need for another piece of unwieldy rolling equipment.

Putting Patient Experience First

As a patient-centered model of healthcare continues to gain favor, products that facilitate caregiving are more needed than ever. For its contribution to patient care, Safepole has received a variety of critical recognition, including a 2012 Gold from the Medical Design Excellence Awards. If you know of a hospital ward that could use Safepole’s support, the company has partnered with a variety of charities over the years to help distribute their product, and they encourage you to reach out to them.

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