Needle-less blood draws now being implemented at Moffitt Cancer Center

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Some patients at Moffitt Cancer Center will no longer have to deal with as many pokes and prods from needles thanks to new technology.

Those being treated for cancer in in-patient wings of the hospital are benefiting from needle-free blood draws.

It’s a technology called PIVO, created by company Velano Vascular.

Moffitt Cancer Center is the first facility in Florida to use the technology. Moffitt implemented a pilot program in two of its wings with the Velano Vascular technology at the end of November to evaluate how patients and nurses liked and responded to it.

Sheila Ferral, the Senior Director of Nursing Practice, Education and Clinical Effectiveness, said the center received a “resounding yes” from both groups and the hospital approved the technology at the end of January. Staff were trained in February and March, and needle-less blood draws were officially rolled out in mid-March to the in-patient units.

Ferral said it’s very common for those in the in-patient wings of the center to require “morning labs,” also known as blood draws, every day. Now, she says they are using the needle-less technology across the board, every single day.

Ferral also explained exactly how it works.

“It allows us to use… an IV that you already have in place, that maybe you’re getting some fluids through or antibiotics or some sort of treatment, and it allows us to use that IV and to pass a very small, flexible tube into that IV, past some valves in your blood vessels that may cause problems drawing blood, to draw blood,” she said.

The tube is then taken out, thrown away and doctors and nurses have a blood sample from a patient.

Ferral said typically if a professional attempted to draw blood from an existing IV, prior to Velano Vascular’s technology, they were either unable to get a blood sample, or the IV inserted in to a patient would be “ruined.”

“So then we have to start another IV, and that’s no fun either, because that involves a needle. So this really is a needle-less system. It allows us to use that existing IV to draw blood,” she said.

The process is not painful for a patient. Ferral said they often have patients fall asleep during their blood draws.

“Nobody ever falls asleep when you’re sticking them with a needle,” Ferral laughed.

Moffitt Cancer Center was able to avoid over 400 needle sticks within their 4-week pilot run. They estimate that hospital-wide, they will now be able to avoid at least 32,000.

“The fact that they don’t have to get stuck… I would just think of myself… I hate getting my blood drawn. When you think about this as an alternative to constantly being stuck, I think it’s just a major satisfier…. Patients love it,” said Chief of Nursing, Jane Fusilero. “I think it’s certainly a benefit to have this option for our patients.”

Both Fusilero and Ferral are looking toward the future and wondering what is the next innovative technology for cancer patients on the horizon.

“Anything you can do to make that cancer journey just a little bit less difficult,” Ferral said.

More information about Velano Vascular’s technology can be found online, as well as through Moffitt’s own website.

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