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Gravity Infusion in Modern Practice

February 4, 2016

Updated April 2020 for information related to Covid-19 response

Infusion pumps are commonplace for providing intravenous (IV) treatments in U.S. hospital-based care, but there are many settings where the use of gravity infusions is still necessary or preferred. Most recently, Covid-19 related medical surges and pump shortages have resulted in providers turning to gravity infusion for the administration of fluids, antibiotics and other IV therapies, even within these acute hospital settings.

As with any protocol change, health systems need to prioritize safety, efficacy and ease of implementation when transitioning to gravity infusions. Gravity infusion is simple, but it is a dynamic system that can be difficult to manage without the right tools. Where an infusion pump digitally sets and displays an infusion rate, a manual gravity infusion involves the arduous and error-prone task of counting drops to determine flow rate – both for initial rate setting, and also in the continuous checking of drip rates.

At Shift Labs, we’ve worked closely with healthcare organizations globally as they’ve made the switch to monitored gravity infusions using DripAssist. We’ve learned that the use of monitoring tools in conjunction with basic gravity drips allows medications to be administered safely and effectively when pumps are not available.

Monitored gravity infusion enables providers to create safe, successful, and cost-effective infusion protocols that equally prioritize patient safety.


Our clinical partners worldwide have demonstrated that:


With monitored gravity infusion, precision dosing of IV treatments is possible even in austere settings with limited infrastructure, resources, and supply chains.

  • DripAssist is a trusted solution for infectious disease response, and has been used effectively in Ebola Treatment Units, including the recent 4-arm trial of experimental antiviral treatments in the DRC

Critical medications for anesthesia, sedation, or pain management can be given safety via monitored gravity infusion during surge care and in field hospitals.

  • A 2019 American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) publication by a US Forward Surgical Team in Syria describes the utility of DripAssist during deployment. View publication

Monitored gravity infusion is not only safe, but can also allow health systems to provide more affordable care by introducing significant cost reduction.

  • In U.S. home and alternate site care, DripAssist simplifies equipment maintenance while enabling quality care for patients

  • A 2019 study by New England Life Care (NELC) analyzed the safety, accuracy, and cost efficiency of Infliximab infusions when given via gravity using DripAssist versus a pump

  • In addition to cost savings, NELC demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in overall numbers of infusion reactions when switching from a pump to gravity infusion with DripAssist

What is the DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor?

The DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor is the only FDA-cleared and CE-marked product that can accurately monitor gravity IV infusion while also providing a simplicity that allows facilities to rapidly respond in a health crisis that puts pressure on limited infusion pump supply. It weighs 3.8 ounces, works with any drip set, and runs off one AA battery. A simple, intuitive interface means it takes 5 minutes to learn to use. The device never needs calibration or maintenance and has an expected usage life of years.

Additionally, the draft WHO guidance for “Priority Medical Devices in COVID-19 Context” released on April 4, 2020 includes an electronic drop counter in the list of recommended medical equipment. DripAssist functions as a 99% accurate electronic drop counter that can also alert users when drip rates change or a bag is empty.

Gravity infusion is a common component of modern healthcare practice, and adding electronic monitoring of gravity infusion is an approach that can help facilities meet their needs during patient surges, providing a robust, cost-effective solution that is simple to roll out across a health system. If we can help you manage infusion challenges, please reach out to info@shiftlabs.com or call our customer line at +1 206.369.1216.


original post Feb 16 2016



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About Us

Shift Labs creates well-designed devices for fast-growing healthcare sectors, everywhere from home health care in the US to clinical care in emerging markets. We emphasize both design and technology to create devices that help a diverse range of healthcare workers to provide better care in more places.

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Shift Labs, Inc.

9200 Holman rd NW

Seattle, WA 98117 USA

Email: info@shiftlabs.com
Tel:  +1 206.369.1216