Do you ever wonder how nurses can keep each patient’s prescription straight? How about the dosage? Or when the patient needs his or her medication? Allergies? This system is dated, inefficient, and flat-out dangerous. According to a government study in 2011, roughly 1.9 million patients in U.S. hospitals were given the wrong drug or dosage. Luckily, PatientSafe Solutions, Inc. has stepped in to address this horrifying health hazard and have provided a great solution.
The San Diego company has made a splash, as it ranks 24th on the Wall Street Journal’s “Next Big Thing” list. The device that they hope will eliminate prescription drug handling problems is a handheld scanner, which allows nurses and other authorized hospital staff to quickly learn “information such as their diagnoses, vital signs, allergies, scheduled medications and food intake” by simply scanning a barcode. Furthermore, hospital workers can scan medicine vials to ensure that the patient actually needs that medication. One might think this is far-fetched, and that a nurse or doctor would not mix up medicines between there patients, but it happens. 1.9 million times in 2011 to be exact.
As someone who has been admitted at the hospital on several occasions, this product is not only smart, but it ensures quality. Instead of the nurse or doctor coming in and asking what medication I am on, they can just scan the barcode on my wristband, and all questions are answered. However, I am able to respond and give staff the information they need, so it is no a big problem. The problem lies with an older patient. Maybe they do not remember what they are taking or what their allergies are. That is why this technology is long overdue, and will definitely prove to be effective. In fact, Joe Condurso, President and Chief of PatientSafe Solutions, notes obvious benefits that come along with this technology: “[PatientSafe] increases quality and reduces cost” for hospitals and patients. Customer quality cannot be overstressed, especially at a hospital with a hundreds of lives on the line at all times.
Currently, 70 hospitals use the PatientSafes’ technology, and that will surely continue to grow. Both the process and quality of prescription drug handling and distribution will be exponentially increased the moment a hospital implements this technology. But it does beg the question, if a study showed that 1.9 million patients received the wrong drug or dosage in 2011, then why isn’t it mandatory to have a system like this in each hospital? People’s lives are at stake because of the poor processes that are put in place at these facilities. Where is the quality management?
What do you think are the pros and cons of using technology like PatientSafe Solutions? Do you think it is cost-effective and quality assuring?