How ENFit® Improves Patient Outcomes in the NICU

Written by Kentec Medical on November 16, 2020

ENFit® products help reduce misconnections and human errors to keep infants in the NICU healthy and safe.

Infants are at their most vulnerable when they’re in the NICU. A minor medical mistake can be fatal at this stage of an infant’s life, which is why healthcare organizations must do all they can to reduce the likelihood of adverse events and improve patient outcomes in the NICU. In response to this imperative, procurement managers around the world are transitioning their facilities to the ENFit® connection system.

What Is ENFit®?

First recommended to hospitals by The Joint Commission more than a decade ago, this enteral connector system is designed to help reduce the risk of enteral tube feeding misconnections, prevent human error, and enhance overall patient safety.

The “ENFit” designation applies to any enteral connectors, syringes, or adaptors that are compliant with ISO standard 80369-3. Standardized ENFit® ends ensure that you can use ENFit® products for all your enteral access, but for nothing else — a design feature known as “force function.” This feature prevents healthcare practitioners from accidentally connecting ENFit® to an IV, a mistake that could seriously harm a patient, particularly in the NICU.

Such mistakes remain all too common — a 2006 study published in Pediatrics found that 56 percent of adverse events in the NICU could have been prevented — but ENFit® products will help reduce their frequency in three key ways.

How Do ENFit® Connectors Promote Patient Safety?

1. Fewer Misconnections

Luer-slip or luer-lock fit syringes fit into both enteral tubing and IV connectors, making them prone to the misconnection issues ENFit® products are designed to solve. If you accidentally attach the luer-lock syringes and connectors incorrectly, you might send enteral feeding down the wrong tube and into the bloodstream, resulting in serious health complications that can lead to death. ENFit® is specifically designed to reduce the rates of accidental misconnection and medication error. ENFit® products can only be connected to other ENFit® enteral connectors — not to any other medical equipment.

2. Reduced Opportunity for Human Error

Complex connector designs and high-stress clinical environments can increase the risk of human error in the NICU. Since it’s impossible for ENFit® to connect to anything it wasn’t designed to, these enteral connectors help reduce human error as well as misconnections. It’s pretty difficult to mistakenly connect the wrong devices and deliver substances through the wrong route with ENFit®, even if you’re an overworked nurse coming off your third 12-hour shift in a row.

3. Safer and More Efficient Organization

Many NICUs use color-coding to differentiate tubes, but with ENFit® products, you don’t have to rely on complicated organizational systems to prevent misconnections. It’s easy to stay organized when using ENFit® because one ENFit® product connects to another via a one-to-one connection — no transitional connectors required. You can rely on the strength and security of the ENFit® connection, not labels and color combinations, to ensure that your patient will receive the proper care.

Embracing ENFit® with Kentec Medical

Adopting ENFit® is important, but there’s no denying that it can be a challenge. While ENFit® enteral connectors will soon be the global industry standard, making the move from older enteral connectors to new ENFit® products requires a strategic and systematic approach. As such, if you’re a procurement manager transitioning your hospital to an ENFit® connection system, you need a partner who will support you through the entire process.

At Kentec Medical, we know that unmatched customer service is the key to providing value, delivering a better healthcare experience, and improving patient outcomes in NICUs around the world. We’ll guide you through your transition to ENFit® and ensure your facilities are outfitted with the best, safest enteral connectors available.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Kentec Medical can help you adopt ENFit® and start improving your patient outcomes, contact us today.

Works Referenced

Bagian, J. P., Frederico, F., & Barnsteiner, J. H. (2014, August 20). Managing risk during transition to new ISO tubing connector standards. Sentinel Alert Event, (53). doi:https://www.jointcommission.org/-/media/deprecated-unorganized/imported-assets/tjc/system-folders/assetmanager/sea_53_connectors_8_19_14_finalpdf.pdf?db=web&hash=5259E85202D5CE621294E9C46E8ED86C 

Implementing the ENFit Initiative for Preventing Enteral Tubing Misconnections. (2017, March 29). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.ecri.org/components/PSOCore/Pages/HDAlert_032917.aspx?tab=2%2Cm

ISO 80369-3:2016. (2017, November 08). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.iso.org/standard/50731.html 

National Association of Neonatal Nurses. (2014). Medication Safety in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit — Position Statement [Brochure]. Chicago, Illinois: Retrieved from https://nann.org/uploads/About/PositionPDFS/1.4.7_Medication%20Safety%20in%20the%20NICU.pdf 

Sharek, P. J., Horbar, J. D., Mason, W., Bisarya, H., Thurm, C. W., Suresh, G., Gray, J. E., Edwards, W. H., Goldmann, D., & Classen, D. (2006). Adverse events in the neonatal intensive care unit: development, testing, and findings of an NICU-focused trigger tool to identify harm in North American NICUs. Pediatrics, 118(4), 1332–1340. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006-0565