5 Reasons to Go Needle Free in 2023
By Sarah McNeal, Patterson Veterinary
Making the switch to needle-free fluid administration has never been more affordable – and the reasons to embrace the transition don’t stop there!
The basics of needle-free technology date back to 2000, when the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act accelerated the adoption of needle-free fluid administration. Start the IV catheter and administer all fluids and meds from a single site. It’s a simple solution that’s been used in human medicine now for more than 20 years. What’s taken the vet industry so long to catch up? Until now, it hasn’t been this easy or this affordable. Additional upsides? It’s better for your patients and saves staff time. We dive into five compelling reasons to go “needle free in 2023” below.
1. Cost savings in two ways
Global sourcing and refinement of materials have paved the way for using needle-free IV fluid administration in the vet industry. Compared to a traditional, open system, the needle-free system uses fewer parts, by half. Additional vendors now compete for this type of streamlined fluid administration setup as well. So, initial cost savings? Check.
Secondarily, you are not filling your sharps container. Check. “Today, there are significant cost savings by eliminating the need for additional parts and pieces, including caps, blunt cannulas and needles,” said Megan Mulgrue, who oversees production of Pivetal’s needle-free system. “Using fewer materials to perform the same tasks is good for everyone. Those savings can be passed along to your patients as well.”
Mulgrue said needle-free IV administration is a natural for specialty and referral centers. Since it’s become more affordable, and the vet industry is changing, it would save general clinics operational costs as well. “Most general practices are hospitalizing patients now. So, after either more complex surgeries or dehydration or anything that a patient would be hospitalized for, if you know that the patient is going to need fluids after surgery, it definitely makes sense to use a needle-free IV set on them. That way, if they need antibiotics, antinausea medications, et cetera, postoperatively it makes sense to use the needle-free as opposed to the standard injection sites.”
2. The latest developments make it more efficient
IV administration is easier on patients and staff because of a closed T-connector called MicroClave. The MicroClave valve is mechanically and microbiologically closed, so patients can be disconnected from their administration set without having to cover the exposed end with a cap. This makes it significantly easier for staff to take patients outside for breaks or for walks – no lines to worry about.
Traditional systems use four parts, including a T-connector, locking male adapter, administration set and, of course, the needle. The needle-free system uses just the MicroClave T-connector and administration set. This needle-free T-connector is especially useful in the vet industry: disconnect the IV line from the T-connector, swab the Y-site and connect the end of the IV line to the Y-site. Reconnecting is the same thing in reverse: disconnect the end of the IV line from the Y-site, swab the end of the T-connector and connect the IV line to the T-connector.
3. Easier for patient care, and time savings for staff
When you think about the number of times a patient needs to go in and out, this efficiency saves time and hassle, especially for patients who are getting fluids as part of their recovery. Since the MicroClave T-connector is an easy on and off, taking patients out multiple times a day (or hour!) is easy for vet team members to do.
Picture the typical TV hospital drama with humans roaming hallways with their IV poles and lines. It is the opposite for our furry patients with the MicroClave T-connector. Mulgrue elaborated, “On the human side, in a hospital, you are typically never disconnected from your IV line until you’re ready for discharge. It is different in animal health, because it is not easy to walk a dog while they’re connected to an IV line while carrying their infusion pump! With the traditional IV line, they use a capped needle – which sounds archaic – but that’s really the only kind of sterile female adapter to help keep the end of the line from becoming contaminated; you’ve got these two parts, the T-connector that needs to be capped and then you’ve got the IV line and part of it that also needs to be capped. With the needle-free system, you avoid those extra components and there’s a big cost savings there.”
4. Sourced for value, overseen for quality
Mulgrue oversees the Pivetal line of IV administration products, based in Chicago. Components are sourced from industry-leading companies according to specifications based on animal health industry preferences. IV sets are assembled overseas, with quality assurance and quality control processes checked by members from the U.S. team. U.S. team members all have experience with large fluid administration manufacturing companies.
“We’ve got that expertise to bring to the table as well,” Mulgrue said. “Our team is on site making sure the QA and QC quality control processes are being followed to our standards. That includes pressure and leak testing to make sure that there are no leaks, especially for the bond sites where the different components meet. We make sure everything is made to our specifications. Nothing is shipped to us in the States until it’s been fully cleared by our internal team overseas.”
5. Easy to get started and start saving
The learning curve to get started is more a change in routine than a learning curve. “The only thing that is different, when you kind of take a step back, is when you’re injecting into an injection site; instead of using a syringe with a needle on it, you take the needle off, and you put the syringe right onto the injection site itself,” Mulgrue said. Once done, it’s learned. And you’re on your way to more efficient, cost-effective patient care.
This article was adapted from a piece appearing in the January 2023 edition of Insight Magazine. Click here to view the full publication, where you'll find additional full-length articles, along with trending products and current promotions — including a special offer on Pivetal needle-free items which runs through the end of February.