February 20, 2007 VeinViewer is a vein-contrast enhancement device that uses an infra-red camera to highlight blood (the underlying vasculature) and projects the image in real time onto the skin. With this device, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals can find veins easily and avoid multiple needle sticks to patients. Venipuncture, the collection of blood specimen from a vein, is commonly seen by nurses as one of the most painful and frequently performed invasive procedures. According to an article in the Journal of Phlebotomy, an estimated one billion venipunctures are performed annually. In one study in the Journal of Nursing, the number of needle sticks for successful catheter placement ranged from one to at least 14. Ninety percent of inpatients require peripheral IV access and approximately 25% of patients need central venous access which consists of a small flexible tube being implanted under the skin so medications can be delivered directly into larger veins.
Memphis-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has become the first healthcare system in the world to implement the VeinViewer at multiple sites. The health system plans to have nine devices in its seven Memphis area hospital locations. Some are already in place.
"The VeinViewer is a revolutionary technology that will greatly enhance patient care, safety and comfort," said Gary S. Shorb, president and CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “Making patients more comfortable during the blood drawing process is a major benefit, and it also helps our healthcare professionals work more efficiently.”
Pediatric use will be especially important since babies and children have very small veins. Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, the only children’s hospital in the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system, was an early test site for the technology.
"The VeinViewer technology has transformed our ability to deliver compassionate care," said Joel A. Saltzman, M.D., medical director, anesthesia, Le Bonheur. "With VeinViewer, we have reduced not only the number of sticks, but also the levels of stress associated with multiple sticks for the practitioner, the patient and the patient's family.
“There are no risks or side-effects involved – only benefits,” explained Dr. Saltzman. “It’s non-invasive, no heat is involved and there is no direct patient contact. Kids like it because they think it’s cool. Parents like it because they know the procedure is not psychologically or physically stressful. Healthcare professionals like it because it provides an accurate target in real-time fashion.”
Dr. Saltzman also reports 100% success with keeping pediatric patients out of the operating room to obtain venous access.
"This translates into less risk to the patients and thousands of dollars saved, as well," said Dr. Saltzman. "It also means greater efficiency in the OR because we do not have to disrupt the schedule for this type of procedure."
"VeinViewer is the new standard of care for anyone who requires vascular access. I am delighted that Methodist Healthcare is the pioneer adopting this technology system-wide. Providing top-quality healthcare is their calling. We are honored to assist them,” said Jim Phillips, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Luminetx.