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Point-of-care Solution to Minimize Prescription Filling & Medication Dispensing Errors
Dr. Alan Jacobs, Founder and CEO of PerceptiMed talked about “preventing drug-related patient injury and death with advanced, cost-effective technology systems”, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.
Medication dispensing error occurs when there is a discrepancy between a prescription and the medicine that the patient receives. It can occur in pharmacies, hospitals, or nursing homes. Such errors can occur at any stage during the long chain of events that transpire between the prescription that the pharmacy receives and the medication that the patient receives. A prescription may be read incorrectly, transcribed incorrectly, dispensed erroneously or delivered to the wrong patient.
Pharmacies dispense enormous volumes of medications. So, relatively low volumes of dispensing errors, in proportion to the medications dispensed, translate into huge numbers of erroneous medications that the patients receive, with serious consequences. For instance, do you know that each year in the US, there occur almost 345 million medication dispensing errors? These errors lead to 1.5 million patient injuries and staggering 7,000 deaths, each year. Additionally, such mistakes are very costly. These preventable medication errors cost $21 billion in wasteful healthcare spending, each year.
Medical dispensing system is a complex system. Often prescriptions are filled by technicians or others representing low skilled workforce. After the prescription is received at the pharmacy, and the patient profile is made, the pharmacist or the technician enters the prescription in the computer. The technician then goes to the stock room, counts out the number of pills and fills in the medicine container, and appropriately labels it. The pharmacist makes one last check, reviews the completed order, verifies drug name, strength, dosing directions, and then visually inspects the pills. Finally, after verification that the prescription is filled for the correct patient, the medicine is dispensed.
Prescription filling errors can occur at any stage, in the process. There are currently 10,000+ pills on the market. About 2633 pills are white and round, 718 are yellow in color. Despite the fact that following FDA ruling, every pill is marked with a special insignia, given the volume of similar looking pills, this is an error waiting to happen. Typically, in a busy pharmacy, a pharmacist may fill out 200-300 prescriptions, a day.
PreceptiMed offers a breakthrough point-of-care product, IdentRX that provides real-time identification of individual pills and checks each pill against the patient’s prescription. This solution is built upon state of the art pill identification algorithms and machine learning technology that enables the system to learn about each new pill that is introduced. There is 100% identification of each individual pill as it is dispensed into the pill bottle. The optical sensor reads 120 pills a minute. Its error detection rate is 99.9% and it requires no calibration or modification of pill or any other special packaging. This automatic, pour and go, first in class system correctly verifies all parameters, and checks for correct medication against patient information, dosage, and quantity. It flags when there is an error the first time, unlike mechanical errors that go undetected for long periods and get further compounded. Built in safe guard eliminates cross-contamination with sensitive products.
PerceptiMed has a broad IP and various other products for other uses in nursing homes and so on. This point-of-care dispensing system does not require FDA approval. Currently, almost 25% of the technician’s time is spent on making a mistake or correcting the mistake, as restocking of erroneous products is also a complicated process, further raising the possibility of errors. PerceptiMed system makes it easy to restock erroneous products, saving enormous amount of time. Additional products are in the pipeline. For instance, Scrip Clip is a simple clip with a sensor that goes on top of the pill envelope and when the patient info is entered in the system, it lights up, allowing for easy pick up from all medications waiting to be picked up. Also it makes it easy to restock the medications that are not picked up. There are other fail safe products for use in nursing homes (for instance, eMAR), to ensure right medication, at correct dosage and time is given to the patient, and the date is entered immediately, to avoid overdosing.
This was a very interesting talk that included several videos that demonstrated the products. The talk was followed by Q&A.
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