Going to a doctor’s office or a hospital is not usually a fun outing. These visits can be particularly stressful if you need to give blood or engage in a procedure that requires a needle stick.
This process can cause anxiety, especially if your nurse or other practitioner cannot find a vein to begin your blood draw or IV. Touching an arm to feel for the vein is not a tried-and-true method for locating a vein.
However, technological advances provide great solutions to these problems, and vein visualization technology may be the answer to this dilemma.
How It Works
Vein visualization technology uses infrared light to illuminate the area where a venipuncture is going to occur so that the practitioner can find a vein to use in the procedure. Vein visualization provides an infrared map of veins that can potentially be used in point-of-care procedures. The technology literally chooses the best vein to puncture, ensuring that the whole experience is seamless. This makes it easy on the practitioner, reducing the number of insertions that occur.
Surprisingly, the technology has been around for over 10 years but is not used on a consistent basis. This is due in part to the procedure not being adopted as the standard of care. However, recent research recommends that this technology is adopted for widespread use.
The Infusion Nurses Society’s Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice maintains that visualization technology should be utilized as the standard of care to ensure that the patient is safe during the venipuncture procedure.
Why it’s Being Used
Vein visualization is being used for a variety of reasons that impact both the patient and the provider. The provider is better able a map of the veins that are available to puncture. This makes it easier to identify what vein is best suited for a puncture.
From the patient perspective, this technology results in fewer sticks, less pain and reduced treatment delays. Multiple sticks can be difficult for a patient to tolerate, particularly if they are a hard stick.
A “hard stick” refers to a scenario in which a practitioner finds it difficult to locate a vein in order to get an IV started or to perform another point-of-care procedure. No one likes to be hurt. Unfortunately, the hard stick process for finding viable veins is pretty common in the health care field.
Vein visualization has the potential to eliminate the number of hard sticks that take place.
It’s the Latest Technology
There are multiple types of vein visualization technology. Vein whisperer is a simple tool that can be used to find veins accessible to puncture. The practitioner simply puts the device in a disposable sleeve, places it on a patch on the patient’s arm, moves the device along the arm until a vein is illuminated and preps the desired vein for puncture. Although this product is not yet approved by the Food & Drug Administration, the tool is a great way to locate a viable vein.
Smartphones can also be used in the vein location process.
Multispectral Wiener Estimation can be deployed as a point-of-care app to find veins in the arm. This technology uses the RGB camera on a smartphone to get multispectral information from the veins. Tests show this methodology is effective as a vein visualization approach.
A number of procedures such as blood draws, infusion, IV and others use vein visualization technology to make a difference in patient care delivery. Harnessing this technology and deploying it for extensive use in the majority of health care settings is a major step toward making venipuncture safer. This technology can boost factors like the quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Vein visualization is now recommended as the standard of care for performing venipuncture on a patient. Use of this vein visualization technology has the potential to make the whole process of vein puncture easier for the patient. As more technologies are deployed for vein visualization, more patients can expect to see the process used during their procedures.