Case Study: Changing Portable NPWT Systems – How Medela Sets New Standards for Service and Support

Clinical Challenges Set Change in Motion

An experienced wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) nurse (“Jane”), was ready for a change. Her facility’s portable negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) devices presented clinical challenges that needed to be addressed. Pump malfunctions, tube blockage, and loud noises strained patients and practitioners, making wound treatment more stressful and less comfortable. The nurses at Jane’s facility were ready to find an NPWT system that provided tangible results with fewer complications. So, when Medela approached Jane’s team with a different option – the Invia Liberty™– Jane and her team were eager to review other NPWT systems.

Setting the Scene

Case Study: Changing Portable NPWT Systems

Jane’s facility is an approximately 250-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital located in the United States. Patients admitted to the facility typically suffer from traumatic injuries, such as brain injury, spinal injury, burns, and other acute conditions, arriving at Jane’s facility after hospitalization and urgent care. The facility also hosts several patients in need of chronic care, such as cancer patients. Many patients admitted require acute or chronic wound care, making Jane’s role – and the technology the team uses to facilitate wound healing – critically important.

Jane is the resident Nurse Consultant for wound, ostomy, and incontinence care at her facility. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing care for the entire inpatient side of the hospital, as well as training and educating WOC nurses servicing the hospital’s inpatient operation.

Assessing New Pump Technologies

When the hospital began searching for a new NPWT system, Jane worked closely with her team to investigate and assess portable NPWT technologies available on the market. Given the critical clinical role of NPWT, the team decided to trial prospective products over the course of several months before executing a full-scale implementation. During the product trial period, Jane’s team also implemented a patient questionnaire to capture important feedback about patient experiences on a weekly basis.

The facility’s purchasing executive, who worked closely with Jane throughout the trial period, selected the Invia Liberty as a candidate for consideration. The Invia Liberty, designed to provide wound care patients reusable pump efficacy with personal pump comfort and convenience – offered the team attractive utility and usability, in addition to streamlined inventory management and rental fees.

Medela Makes A Positive Impression

“A large part of our final decision was based not only on product, but on the manufacturer and service offered.”

—Jane, WOC Nurse

Early in the investigation process, Medela was a strong contender because of its customer service and useful clinical resources. “A large part of our final decision was based not only on product, but on the manufacturer and service offered,” said Jane. “While we were trialing the Medela wound vac machine, the company’s support staff was on-site to train nurses, troubleshoot issues, and educate patients, as needed. It made the entire process more positive and manageable.”

Several weeks into the trial period, patients outfitted with the Invia Liberty – as well as the practitioners attending them – began reporting positive experiences, both anecdotally and via the questionnaire used to qualify new devices. The device’s comfortable, quiet profile alleviated frustrations incurred by the facility’s legacy portable negative pressure wound therapy devices, and the Medela team’s ongoing support answered operational questions and made effective utilization significantly easier.

“Several of our patients came into the facility with older pumps, and quite frankly, they liked the Medela pumps better,” said Jane. “The Liberty wound vac machine is lightweight and highly mobile, making it more comfortable to travel with. There are also relatively few notification noises, making it less of a distraction than other solutions. In general, the pump is very quiet as it operates. This was a crucial factor in our decision, as loud pumps disrupt sleep and act as stressors. Having a low-profile, quiet option was a key priority.”

Other product attributes that helped Jane land on the Liberty include completely interchangeable NPWT device components, secure quick-connector tubing with an audible “click,” fast, one-button canister removal, the device’s user-friendly interface, and intuitive design.

The Deciding Difference

“Whenever I had a question about the device’s usage, Medela's team was there to help."

—Jane, WOC Nurse

At the end of the hospital’s trial period, Jane, her purchasing executive, and the team at large advocated for Medela and the Invia Liberty. Jane identifies Medela’s in-clinic service, educational resources, and the device’s ease of use as the difference that helped her decide.

“Truthfully, I thought I would be fielding tons of questions about operating the device, but in reality, there were relatively few issues to work through.” Jane attributes this experience to device’s intuitive design, the robust support offered by the on-site Medela team, and inclusion of helpful tools that answer common clinician questions and assist in troubleshooting, including:

  • A QR code located on the device that automatically connects to educational resources
  • A phone and tablet-based application including tutorial videos, troubleshooting advice, and advice for users
  • A 24/7 technical and clinical phone support line

Jane also noted that “whenever I had a question about the device’s usage, Margaret Maish, MSN, CWOCN, RN [Medela Clinical Sales Specialist] was there to help. I was also very impressed by the app that came with the device. It made it easier for my team to understand and utilize the device, and it also helped make patient education efforts more successful. While the Invia Liberty is a great device from a technical perspective, it was the incredible service and support that made me feel most confident in my decision.

Finding a NPWT System of Preference

“His old device, which was loud and uncomfortable, would drive him crazy.”

—Jane, WOC Nurse

Today, Jane and the her team are utilizing Medela NPWT to deliver patients top-quality wound care – and patients are continuing to respond. Recently, Jane had a patient express to her the best part of using the Invia Liberty: that he barely notices it. “His old device, which was loud and uncomfortable, would drive him crazy,” said Jane. “The fact that he doesn’t notice it is huge, for both his overall comfort and most importantly, his wound healing.”

Beyond patient satisfaction, Jane notes that implementing portable negative pressure wound therapy with Medela has improved the WOC nurse team’s overall confidence and comfort treating wounds using negative pressure. The Medela team’s support, as well as the user-friendly and intuitive nature of the Invia Liberty device, were cited as primary drivers for the team’s new approach to NPWT.

When asked what advice she would offer another WOC nurse frustrated with his or her current portable NPWT technology and looking to make a switch, Jane had this to say:

“I’d assure them that there are other options out there and share with them my positive experience working with the Medela team. I’d tell them to go into the investigative process with an open mind and consider multiple options – but that our experience with Medela made them the clear-cut choice.”

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy

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