Syringe Design for the Administration of an Accurate Dose

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Noriyoshi Tanaka, MA, RN
Department of Mathematical Health Science, Course of Health Science / Division of Nursing, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine / Tokai University Hospital, Isehara-shi, Japan
Takeshi Toya, MA
Course of Fine Arts and Design, Graduate School of Arts, Tokai University, Hiratsuka-shi, Japan

Learning Objective 1: understand that a syringe that produces tactile feedback can reduce incidents related to dose inaccuracy.

Learning Objective 2: understand that syringes that produce tactile feedback are advantageous over the standard syringe that does not provide this feedback.

PURPOSE: This study was carried out to assess the usability of syringes designed to promote the administration of an accurate dose.
BACKGROUND: Improving the quality of medical care is an urgent need. Most researchers have evaluated syringe swaps, calculation errors, and preparation errors to factor in the medical professional’s viewpoint in the development of syringes. The syringe evaluated in this study was designed to overcome issues that cause difficulties in the administration of medication with strictly limited doses and to reduce the heavy reliance on the practitioner’s tactile and visual senses.
METHODS: Seven models of a 10-mL syringe with tiny curved bumps along the surface of the plunger were developed. The models were designed to accommodate differing levels of tactile control required for administering a 1-mL injection. A commercially available standard 10-mL syringe was selected as a control for comparison with the models. Usability tests for these models were undertaken. As subjects, 32 nurses were randomly recruited and asked to evaluate each model by applying the analytic hierarchy process. The evaluation criteria were as follows: (1) ability of the plunger to stop sharply at 1-mL intervals, and (2) level of tactile feedback received when the plunger is pushed in.
RESULTS: Compared to the commercially available standard syringe, the syringes that produced tactile feedback had higher scores for the first criterion. Among the 8 test syringes, the one with wave-like bumps had the highest score for the second criterion.
CONCLUSION: In this study, a new syringe was designed in an attempt to address the problem of inaccurate dose administration during medical treatment in the emergency department and operating theater. The results suggest that a targeted syringe design can be effective in reducing errors.