A US healthcare system has become the first in that country to take the needle out of drawing blood across its 22 hospitals, in what is considered to be an industry-leading move.

In an announcement, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare said the roll out of needle-free technology is part of a commitment to transforming healthcare and providing top care while also ensuring more humane inpatient blood draws.

It is a move that is expected to establish a new national standard for patient and practitioner centred care and quality.

“It is baffling that in an era of smartphones and space travel, clinicians draw blood by penetrating a vein with a needle,” director of innovation at Intermountain’s Transformation Lab Todd Dunn said.

“Through our Design for People program, we resolved to find a better way for our phlebotomists and nurses to more humanely and consistently draw blood.”

The needle-free technology, called PIVO, comes from San Francisco-based Velano Vascular. It connects to an exterior IV catheter, commonly used for hospitalised patients. PIVO makes it possible for practitioners to extract blood from the vein.

The roll out comes after two years of clinical collaboration.

“Blood draws are critical, common elements in modern medicine, but they cause an unnecessary amount of anxiety, pain and risk due to the use of century-old technology and practice,” Intermountain senior vice president and chief nursing executive Kim Henrichsen said.

“This commitment to standardising draws will enhance quality for both patients and practitioners.”

Inpatient blood draws occur nearly 500 million times a year in the US alone and inform more than 70 per cent of all medical decisions, according to Intermountain.

Vein access is considered difficult for 30 per cent of the US hospital patient population due to obesity, age and disease.