MONTICELLO — Health care workers in Monticello now have the ability to see a patient’s veins before poking them with a needle.

Thanks to a $14,000 grant in early February, Indiana University Health White Memorial Hospital now has a second VeinViewer Vision 2 device. It is technology that allows nurses and clinicians the ability to locate a person’s veins — especially those who prove to be a “hard stick.”

“In 2018, a VeinViewer was purchased for the emergency department on the first floor. All the nursing units were trained to use the VeinViewer and found it to be helpful with hard-to-stick cases,” said Jennifer Hicks, manager of surgical services at IU Health White. “The inpatient unit and surgical departments borrow it daily, moving it from floor to floor. It is a piece of equipment that has been utilized by every department on over 90% of patients.

“The need for a second VeinViewer for the second floor was evident.”

Here’s how it works:

The device, which mimics a typical IV stand and is positioned at bedside, uses an arm extension that directs near-infrared light onto the patient’s skin, which then bounces light back from the tissue surrounding each vein to a digital video camera. The blood inside the veins does not reflect light.

A processing unit inside the camera uses contrast to enhance the image and projects it digitally on the skin’s surface, providing a real-time view of the patient’s vasculature. This allows the care provider to select the best vein before the needle ever makes contact with the skin.

“This technology allows team members to see blood patterns up to 15 millimeters deep and clinically relevant veins up to 10 millimeters deep. We can see peripheral veins, bifurcations and valves and assess in real time the refill/flushing of veins,” Hicks said.

Earlier this year, IU Health hospitals across the state received more than $600,000 in grants from IU Health Foundation for projects focused on making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. The grant dollars supported the foundation’s funding priorities of people, progress and partnerships.

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