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EURAMET research leads to continuing improvements for intravenous drug delivery

Intravenous (IV) drip

EMPIR project strives to improve the accuracy of intravenous drug delivery

Research in the field of drug delivery has always been critical for healthcare. New and innovative drug delivery devices have led to therapeutic advances in treatment, from oral-controlled release systems, to site-specific delivery capabilities. In fact, infusion-based methods of delivering drugs are used extensively in everyday healthcare, but this widespread use can also lead to dosing errors – with the potential to adversely impact patients at risk.   

Previous work

Previous projects under EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) have benefited from the collaborative power of seven metrology institutes across Europe. Project results have supported the accurate delivery of life-saving drugs using infusion methods –particularly important for intensive care patients who require the precise control of high dosage medications.

Past projects have also shed light on the importance of ultra-low flow rate infusions, that are needed for the care of newborn infants. To bring about impactful changes for the healthcare community, researchers have additionally focused their attention on disseminating project results through clinical workshops and written guidelines for infusion therapy best practices. Collectively, these efforts have contributed to improving the dosing accuracy for existing drug delivery devices and inline sensors.

The project coordinator, Elsa Batista, comments,

“The knowledge gained from the projects is now feeding into updating international standards that will underpin the future validation of drug delivery devices.”

The on-going EMPIR project

Despite past research in this area, there is still a medical need to investigate other aspects of drug infusion methods, such as fast-changing flow rates and multi-infusion devices that control the supply of several drugs at once via intravenous (IV) therapy. For multi-infusion devices, more information is needed about the actual dose of medication that reaches a patient at the point of entry – after various drugs have been mixed together.

To address these measurement needs, a new project (18HLT08, MeDDII) has been initiated under the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR). Here, project researchers have been replicating multi-infusion systems and investigating the effects of critical factors, like drug mixing and blockage phenomena, with a view to bridge the existing knowledge gaps in infusion therapy fields.

By increasing our understanding of drug delivery devices - and on a broader level, developing methods for calibrating relevant instruments - the project is helping to make infusion therapies more accurate and safer for newborn infants and other patients in intensive care.


This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

This EMRP joint research project is part of EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programme. The EMRP is jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries within EURAMET and the European Union.

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