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Publication numberUS20040051368 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/247,768
Publication dateMar 18, 2004
Filing dateSep 17, 2002
Priority dateSep 17, 2002
Publication number10247768, 247768, US 2004/0051368 A1, US 2004/051368 A1, US 20040051368 A1, US 20040051368A1, US 2004051368 A1, US 2004051368A1, US-A1-20040051368, US-A1-2004051368, US2004/0051368A1, US2004/051368A1, US20040051368 A1, US20040051368A1, US2004051368 A1, US2004051368A1
InventorsJimmy Caputo, Christer Andreasson
Original AssigneeJimmy Caputo, Andreasson Christer O.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Systems and methods for programming pumps
US 20040051368 A1
Abstract
A system for delivering medical fluid to a patient includes a medical container including a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag storing data related to the medical fluid therein. A RF reader receives data signals transmitted from the RFID tag that include a desired flow rate for delivering the fluid to the intended patient. A pump coupled to the reader includes a pumping mechanism for pumping the medical fluid from the container, and a pump controller for receiving the data including the desired flow rate from the reader. The pump controller automatically controls the pumping mechanism to pump the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate based upon the data.
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Claims(32)
What is claimed is:
1. A system for delivering medical fluid in a medical container to a patient, the medical container comprising a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag for storing data related to the medical fluid, the system comprising:
a reader for receiving signals transmitted from the RFID tag, the signals comprising data including a desired flow rate; and
a pump, comprising,
a pumping mechanism for pumping the medical fluid from the medical container; and
a pump controller coupled to the reader for receiving the data including at least the desired flow rate from the reader, the pump controller controlling the pumping mechanism to pump the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate based upon the data.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the reader is configured for transmitting a query signal to the RFID tag and receiving a response signal from the RFID tag in response to the query signal, the response signal comprising the data.
3. The system of claim 1, further comprising a medical container including a medical fluid therein coupled to the pump mechanism, the medical container comprising a RFID tag storing data associated with the medical fluid.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the medical container comprises a syringe or an IV bag.
5. The system of claim 3, wherein the medical fluid comprises a cocktail having a predetermined expiration period during which the medical fluid must be delivered, wherein the data comprises the predetermined expiration period, and wherein the pump controller is configured for comparing the predetermined expiration period with a clock to confirm that the predetermined expiration period has not passed.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the pump further comprises a display coupled to the pump controller, the display configured for displaying the desired flow rate.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the reader comprises a pad comprising a radio frequency (RF) antenna therein for receiving signals from a RFID tag associated with the medical container when the medical container is placed in close proximity to the pad.
8. The system of claim 7, wherein the pad comprises an upper surface onto which a medical container may be placed for receiving signals from the RFID tag.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the reader and pump are contained within a casing configured for having the medical container connected thereto, the reader configured for receiving the data from the RFID tag when the medical container is connected to the casing.
10. A system for delivering medical fluid in a medical container to a patient, the medical container comprising a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag for storing data related to the medical fluid, the system comprising:
a reader for receiving signals transmitted from the RFID tag, the signals comprising a container identifier uniquely associated with the medical container;
an interface coupled to the reader for communicating with a remote database, the interface configured for transmitting the container identifier to the database and receiving data from the database associated with the medical container, the data comprising a desired flow rate; and
a pump, comprising,
a pumping mechanism for pumping the medical fluid from the medical container; and
a pump controller coupled to the interface for receiving at least the desired infusion rate from the database, the pump controller configured for controlling the pumping mechanism to pump the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate.
11. The system of claim 10, further comprising a database remote from the reader, the database comprising a plurality of identifiers and a plurality of respective desired flow rates, each identifier and respective desired flow rate being associated with a respective RFID tag.
12. The system of claim 10, wherein the reader is configured for transmitting a query signal to the RFID tag and receiving a response signal from the RFID tag in response to the query signal, the response signal comprising the container identifier.
13. The system of claim 10, further comprising a medical container including a medical fluid therein coupled to the pump mechanism, the medical container comprising a RFID tag storing data associated with the medical fluid.
14. The system of claim 13, wherein the medical container comprises a syringe or an IV bag.
15. The system of claim 13, wherein the medical fluid comprises a cocktail having a predetermined expiration period during which the medical fluid must be delivered, wherein the data comprises the predetermined expiration period, and wherein the pump controller is configured for comparing the predetermined expiration period with a clock to confirm that the predetermined expiration period has not passed.
16. The system of claim 10, wherein the pump further comprises a display coupled to the pump controller, the display configured for displaying the desired flow rate.
17. The system of claim 10, wherein the reader comprises a pad comprising a radio frequency (RF) antenna therein for receiving signals from a RFID tag associated with the medical container when the medical container is placed in close proximity to the pad.
18. The system of claim 17, wherein the pad comprises an upper surface onto which a medical container may be placed for receiving signals from the RFID tag.
19. The system of claim 10, wherein the reader and pump are contained within a casing configured for having the medical container connected thereto, the reader configured for receiving the data from the RFID tag when the medical container is connected to the casing.
20. The system of claim 10, wherein the desired flow rate comprises at least one flow rate.
21. The system of claim 10, wherein the data further comprises a desired flow duration value.
22. The system of claim 10, wherein the signals further comprise a first patient identifier.
23. The system of claim 22, further comprising a terminal, the terminal comprising a second patient identifier and being configured for comparing the first patient identifier and the second patient identifier.
24. A method for delivering fluid in a container, the method comprising:
providing a container comprising a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag storing data related to a fluid within the container;
receiving the data from the RFID tag using a radio frequency (RF) reader;
transferring a desired flow rate associated with the data to a pump controller; and
pumping the fluid from the container at the desired flow rate.
25. The method of claim 24, further comprising extracting the desired flow rate from data received from the RFID tag by the RF reader.
26. The method of claim 24, wherein the data received from the RFID tag comprises an identifier uniquely associated with the container, the method further comprising accessing a database to obtain the desired flow rate associated with the identifier.
27. The method of claim 24, further comprising displaying the desired flow rate, and requesting confirmation to proceed with pumping the fluid from the container at the desired flow rate, the pumping step being performed only once confirmation to proceed is received.
28. The method of claim 24, wherein the fluid comprises a cocktail having a predetermined expiration period during which the fluid must be delivered, wherein the data comprises the predetermined expiration period, the method further comprising comparing the predetermined expiration period with a clock to confirm that the predetermined expiration period has not passed.
29. The method of claim 24, wherein the receiving step comprises automatically reading data from the RFID tag when the container is brought into close proximity with the RF reader.
30. The method of claim 24, wherein the receiving step comprises automatically reading the data from the container when the medical container is connected to the pump.
31. The method of claim 24, wherein the receiving step is initiated by inputting a read instruction at least one of before and after connecting the container to the pump.
32. The method of claim 24, wherein the receiving step comprises transmitting a query signal to the RFID tag and receiving a data signal in response to the query signal, the data signal comprising the desired delivery rate.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to pumps, and more particularly to systems and methods for programming pumps.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Pumps are commonly used in therapeutic regimens to deliver medical fluids to patients at controlled delivery or infusion rates. Several types of pumps have been developed to deliver medical fluids to patients. For example, a peristaltic pump may be used, which engages a resilient tube that is coupled between a supply of medical fluid and a patient intended to receive the medical fluid. The supply of medical fluid may be contained, e.g., in an IV bag, a syringe, and the like. The peristaltic pump delivers the medical fluid to the patient by sequentially squeezing and releasing sections of the tube in a wavelike pattern. Another type of pump is the syringe pump, which pumps medical fluid from a syringe to a patient by pushing down on the plunger of the syringe at a controlled rate.

[0003] A physician typically prescribes a medical fluid to a patient as part of a therapeutic regimen. The physician also typically prescribes the infusion rate at which the medical fluid is to be delivered to the patient. During the therapeutic regimen, a healthcare worker manually enters the prescribed infusion rate into a pump, e.g., using a keypad, and the pump delivers the prescribed medical fluid to the patient at the infusion rate entered by the healthcare worker.

[0004] A problem with this manual approach is that a healthcare worker may enter an incorrect infusion rate into the pump. For example, when entering a prescribed infusion rate of 20 ml/hr, the healthcare worker may accidentally enter an extra zero, resulting in a much higher infusion rate of 200 ml/hr being entered into the pump. Such entry errors may cause serious harm to the patient, and in extreme cases, death.

[0005] Accordingly, systems and methods for programming infusion rates into pumps would be considered useful.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed to systems and methods for programming pumps, and more particularly to systems and methods for electronically programming pumps to deliver medical fluids from containers to patients.

[0007] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for delivering medical fluid in a medical container to a patient, the medical container including a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag for storing data related to the medical fluid therein. The system generally includes a reader for receiving signals transmitted from the RFID tag, the signals including data including a desired flow rate, and a pump. The pump may include a pumping mechanism for pumping the medical fluid from the medical container, and a pump controller coupled to the reader for receiving the data including at least the desired flow rate from the reader. The pump controller may control the pumping mechanism to pump the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate based upon the data.

[0008] In a preferred embodiment, the reader is configured for transmitting a query signal to the RFID tag and receiving a response signal from the RFID tag in response to the query signal, the response signal including the data. In one embodiment, the reader may be a pad including a radio frequency (RF) antenna therein for receiving signals from a RFID tag associated with the medical container when the medical container is placed in close proximity to the read pad. Preferably, the pad includes a surface, e.g., an upper surface, onto which a medical container may be placed for receiving signals from the RFID tag.

[0009] The system may be used with a medical container, such as an IV bag or a syringe, including a medical fluid therein coupled to the pump mechanism, the medical container including a RFID tag storing data associated with the medical fluid. In one embodiment, the medical fluid may include a “cocktail” having a predetermined expiration period during which the medical fluid must be delivered, and the data on the RFID tag may include the predetermined expiration period. The pump controller may be configured for comparing the predetermined expiration period with a clock to confirm that the predetermined expiration period has not passed. If this confirmation is positive, the pump controller may activate the pumping mechanism and deliver the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate.

[0010] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for delivering medical fluid in a medical container to a patient, the medical container including a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag for storing data related to the medical fluid. The system may include a reader for receiving signals transmitted from the RFID tag, the signals comprising a container identifier uniquely associated with the medical container, and an interface coupled to the reader for communicating with a remote database. The interface is configured for transmitting the container identifier to the database and receiving data from the database associated with the medical container, the data comprising a desired flow rate for delivering the medical fluid from the medical container.

[0011] The system also includes a pump, which may include a pumping mechanism for pumping the medical fluid from the medical container, and a pump controller. The pump controller may be coupled to the interface for receiving at least the desired flow rate from the database, the pump controller configured for controlling the pumping mechanism to pump the medical fluid from the medical container at the desired flow rate. Optionally, the system may include a database remote from the reader and/or pump that includes a plurality of identifiers and a plurality of respective desired flow rates, each identifier and respective desired flow rate being associated with a respective RFID tag.

[0012] In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, a method is provided for delivering fluid in a container at a desired flow rate. Preferably, the method is used for delivering a medical fluid to a patient, although the method may be used to deliver fluids from containers for other applications as well.

[0013] Initially, a container is provided that includes a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag storing data related to a fluid within the container. A radio frequency (RF) or other wireless reader may be used to read the data stored on the RFID tag. In one embodiment, the data may be read automatically from the RFID tag when the container is brought into close proximity with the RF reader. For example, the data may be automatically read from the RFID tag of the container either before or after the container is connected to the pump. Alternatively, the data reading may be initiated by inputting a read instruction either before or after connecting the container to the pump. To read the data on the RFID tag, the reader may transmit a query signal, e.g., a wireless RF signal, to the RFID tag, whereupon the RFID tag may access the data stored therein and transmit the data back to the reader in one or more data signals. The reader may then receive the one or more data signals in response to the query signal. The data signal generally includes the desired delivery rate, but may also include other data related to the fluid in the container. In addition or alternatively, for medical applications, the data signal may include data related to the patent intended to receive the medical fluid.

[0014] In an alternative method, the data received from the RFID tag may include an identifier uniquely associated with the container. In this alternative, a database may be accessed, e.g., by the reader and/or a pump controller, to obtain the desired flow rate associated with the identifier.

[0015] A desired flow rate associated with the data may be transferred to a pump controller, e.g., directly from the reader if the desired flow rate is included in the data received from the RFID tag or from an accessed database. Once the pump controller has the desired flow rate, the fluid may be pumped from the container at the desired flow rate, e.g., into a patient. Before pumping commences, the pump controller and/or reader may perform additional actions, e.g., related to error prevention, such as requesting manual confirmation to proceed from the user, confirming that a medical fluid is being delivered to an intended patient, that a limited-life medical fluid is being delivered before its expiration date, and the like.

[0016] Thus, systems and methods in accordance with the present invention may facilitate programming a pump for delivering fluid, e.g., a medical fluid to a patient, with minimal involvement of the user. This may reduce errors that may arise, e.g., due to typographical errors, errors in reading instructions, and the like, and ensure that the correct fluid is delivered at the correct rate. If additional checks are utilized, the system may also automatically ensure that the fluid is delivered to the proper recipient in a timely manner, rather than relying alnost entirely upon the user to provide these checks.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017]FIG. 1A shows an IV bag including an RFID tag, in accordance with the present invention.

[0018]FIG. 1B shows a syringe, including an RFID tag, in accordance with the present invention.

[0019]FIG. 2 is a block diagram, showing an embodiment of a medical fluid delivery system, in accordance with the present invention.

[0020]FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of a RF read pad, in accordance with the present invention.

[0021]FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of a peristaltic pump, in accordance with the present invention.

[0022]FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of a syringe pump, in accordance with the present invention.

[0023]FIG. 6 is a flowchart, showing a method for programming a pump to deliver medical fluid to a patient, in accordance with the present invention.

[0024]FIG. 7 is a block diagram, showing an embodiment of a medical fluid delivery system limited to a database, in accordance with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0025] Turning to FIGS. 1A and 1B, medical fluids intended for delivery to patients are generally provided in medical containers or delivery devices, such as IV bags, syringes, and the like. For example, FIG. 1A shows a representative IV bag 15, while FIG. 1B shows a representative syringe 25. The medical fluids may include standard drugs and/or custom drugs for specific patients and/or therapeutic regimens. An exemplary medical fluid may be a chemotherapy drug, which may be created by mixing several components together into a “cocktail” that has a limited time during which the fluid must be delivered to a patient.

[0026] A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag 20 may be attached to the medical container, such as the IV bag 15 of FIG. 1A or the syringe 25 of FIG. 1B. Each RFID tag 20 includes a write/read memory (not shown) for storing data and a built-in antenna (not shown) for communicating with a reader/writer. The RFID tag 20 may be active, i.e., powered by an internal power source, or passive, i.e., powered inductively by a RF signal transmitted from an RF reader. The RFID tag 20 may also include a processor or controller for saving and/or retrieving data stored in the memory and/or for controlling data transmission and/or reception via the antenna. Additional information on RFID tags that may be used with the systems and methods of the present invention may be found in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/085,472, filed Feb. 26, 2002 and co-pending application Ser. No. 09/811,317 filed Mar. 15, 2001. The disclosures of these applications and any references cited therein are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0027] In a preferred embodiment, each of the RFID tags 20 may be a relatively thin and flexible strip, allowing the RFID tag 20 to be attached to the IV bag 15 and/or syringe 25, e.g., using an adhesive such that the RFID tag 20 does not interfere with normal use of the IV bag 15 or syringe 25. For example, an RFID tag 20 may be affixed to the surface of the IV bag 15 or around the barrel of the syringe 25, as illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B, respectively.

[0028] The RFID tag 20 attached to the IV bag 15 or syringe 25 may store data related to the medical fluid contained therein. The data in the RFID tag 20 may include a serial number and/or a National Drug Code (NDC), the name of the medical fluid, an infusion rate, a manufacture's name, a lot number, and/or an expiration date. Alternatively, the RFID tag 20 may store an identifier uniquely associated with one or more entries in a database that may be accessed to obtain data related to the medical fluid. Additional data may also be stored in the RFID tag 20, as explained further below.

[0029] When a physician prescribes a medical fluid to a patient, a prescription may be forwarded to a pharmacy or other source, e.g., electronically or as a handwritten prescription. The prescription may include the physician's name, the intended patient's name, the medical fluid contents and/or concentrations, the infusion rate at which the medical fluid is to be delivered to the patient, and/or the total amount of medical fluid to be delivered to the patient in each regimen. A pharmacist or technician at the pharmacy may prepare the prescribed medical fluid in a medical container for administration to the patient in accordance with the prescription. For example, the pharmacist may select a pre-filled container if one is available with the prescribed fluid. If not, an empty medical container may be filled with a cocktail, which may include one or more components in predetermined concentrations.

[0030] Preferably, a RFID tag 20 is provided on each empty or pre-filled medical container, e.g., the IV bag 15 and/or the syringe 25, either attached by the pharmacist or pre-attached before arrival at the pharmacy, e.g., by a manufacturer or distributor. The pharmacist may write data related to the medical fluid into the associated RFID tag, e.g., using a RF writer. The data may include the identity of the physician prescribing the medical fluid, the identity of the pharmacist preparing the medical fluid, and/or the identity of the patient intended to receive the medical product. The data may also include the infusion rate at which the medical fluid is to be delivered to the patient, the amount of medical fluid to be delivered to the patient in each regimen, the expected delivery time of the medical fluid, and/or the expiration of the medical fluid. Alternatively, or in addition, the pharmacists may enter the data into a database that uniquely associates the entered data with an identifier stored on the RFID tag, e.g., a serial number.

[0031] Some or all of the data stored on the RFID tag 20 may also be printed on the outer surface of the RFID tag 20 so that a healthcare worker may visually read the data. For example, some or all of the data may be printed on a label (not shown) attached to the medical container and/or printed directly onto the medical container 15 or delivery device 25 (also not shown).

[0032] Turning to FIG. 2, a preferred embodiment of a medical fluid delivery system 110 is shown that includes a pump 130 for delivering medical fluid to a patient and a RF reader 120 coupled to the pump 130. The pump 130 generally includes a pumping mechanism 150, and a pump controller 140 coupled to the pumping mechanism 150, and may also include a display 160 and/or an input device 165. The components of the pump 130 may be located together in a casing or may be separate from one another and/or coupled together, e.g., by one or more cables. For example, the RF reader 120 may be a stand-alone module that may be mounted to the pump 130 or otherwise coupled to the pump 130, or, alternatively, the RF reader 120 may be integrated into the pump 130, e.g., within the pump casing.

[0033] The RF reader 120 is configured for reading data stored on RFID tags, such as the RFID tags 20 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, and/or for relaying the data to the pump 130. The RF reader 120 may include an antenna (not shown) for receiving data stored on the RFID tag 20, e.g., by transmitting an RF interrogation signal to induce the RFID tag 20 to transmit data stored on the RFID tag 20 to the RF reader 120 and by receiving the signals transmitted by the RFID tag 20 in response to the interrogation signal. The RF reader 120 may include one or more internal processors for converting the signals received from the RFID tag 20 to useful data that may be transferred to the pump controller 140, as is well known to those skilled in the art.

[0034] Preferably, the RF reader 120 is located in close proximity to the pump 130 for reading data stored on the RFID tag 20 of a medical container when the medical container is brought into close proximity to the pump 130. For example, the RF reader 120 may automatically read data stored on the RFID tag 20 when the medical container is connected to the pump mechanism 150. Alternatively, the RF reader 120 may require a healthcare worker to initiate the RFID tag reading process, e.g., by pushing a “read” button (not shown) on the RF reader 120 before or after connecting the medical container to the pump mechanism 150. In an alternative embodiment, the RF reader 120 may be located at an entrance, e.g., doorway, of a patient's room for automatically reading data stored on RFID tags 20 of any medical containers brought into a patient's room.

[0035]FIG. 3 shows an exemplary RF reader 120, namely a RF read pad 320 with a built-in antenna (not shown) that is configured to read the RFID tag 20 of medical container(s) placed onto an upper surface 330 of the RF read pad 320. The RF read pad 320 may be integrated into a table (not shown), e.g., at a patient's bedside or on a stand carrying the pump 130 (not shown).

[0036] Returning to FIG. 2, the pumping mechanism 150 may deliver fluid from a medical container, e.g., IV bag 15 or syringe 25 (not shown, see, e.g., FIGS. 4 and 5), to a patient (not shown) once the medical container is connected to the pump 130. The pump controller 140 generally controls operation of the pumping mechanism 150, e.g., the infusion rate at which fluid is delivered to the patient and/or duration of fluid delivery. The pump controller 140 may be coupled to the RF reader 120 via a data link 155, e.g., a cable link, a wire link, a RF wireless link, and the like, for receiving delivery data from the RF reader 120, as explained further below. The display 160 may be configured for displaying data related to operation of the pump, e.g., current delivery rate, current volume delivered, elapsed time, and the like. The input device 165, e.g., a keypad, keyboard, or touch screen, may be used for manually entering data, such as flow data, into the pump, and/or to override the pump controller 140, e.g., to discontinue delivery.

[0037] Turning to FIG. 4, an exemplary embodiment of a pump is shown that may be incorporated into a system in accordance with the present invention, namely a peristaltic pump 430. A peristaltic pump 430 generally receives a portion of a resilient tube 450 that is fluidly coupled at one end to a supply of medical fluid, e.g., an IV bag 15, and at the other end to a patient (not shown) intended to receive the medical fluid. The peristaltic pump 430 typically includes internal rollers or other elements (not shown) that mechanically engage the portion of the tube 450 enclosed by the pump 430. The rollers may be mechanically driven by one or more motors (not shown) to sequentially squeeze and release sections of the tube 450 in a wave-like pattern, thereby forcing fluid in the tube 450 to advance through the tube 450 from the IV bag 15 to the patient. The pump controller 150 (not shown, see FIG. 2) may control the infusion rate of the pump 430 by controlling the motor driving the rollers, as is well known to those skilled in the art.

[0038] Turning to FIG. 5, another embodiment of a pump is shown, namely a syringe pump 530. A syringe pump 530 generally includes a syringe holder 540 for holding a syringe 25 containing medical fluid. A tube 545 fluidly couples the syringe 25 to a patient (not shown) intended to receive the medical fluid. The syringe pump 530 also includes a pusher 550 that mechanically engages a plunger 560 of the syringe 25. The pusher 550 may be mechanically driven by a motor (not shown) to push down on the plunger 560 and advance fluid from within the syringe 25 to the patient. The pump controller 150 (not shown, see FIG. 2) may control the infusion rate of the pump by controlling the motor driving the pusher 550 to push down on the syringe plunger 560. The pumps shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 are merely illustrative and other types of pumps capable of delivering medical fluid to a patient at a controlled delivery or infusion rate may also be incorporated into the system of the present invention.

[0039] Turning to FIG. 6, a method for programming a pump, such as the pump 130 shown in FIG. 2, to deliver medical fluid to a patient is shown, in accordance with the present invention. Initially, the pump may be located at the patient's bedside and the programming preferably occurs at the patient's bedside, although alternatively, programming the pump may occur at another location away from the patient.

[0040] In step 610, a healthcare worker, e.g., nurse, may receive a medical container, e.g., a IV bag 15 or syringe 25 as shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, containing a medical fluid intended for delivery to a patient. For example, the healthcare worker may receive the medical container from a pharmacy, e.g., if specially prepared for a specific patient, or may remove the medical container from a drug dispensing apparatus, such as that disclosed in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/085,472, filed Feb. 26, 2002, co-pending application Ser. No. 09/957,108, filed Sep. 19, 2001, and co-pending application Ser. No. 09/811,317 filed Mar. 15, 2001, the disclosure of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0041] In step 620, an RF reader 120 coupled to the pump reads the data stored on a RFID tag 20 associated with the medical container. For example, the RF reader 120 may automatically read the data from the RFID tag 20 when the medical container is brought into close proximity to the RF reader 120, e.g., when the medical container is connected to the pump. Alternatively, the healthcare worker may initiate the RFID tag 20 reading, e.g., by pressing a “read” button (not shown) on the RF reader 120 either before or after connecting the medical container to the pump. In a preferred embodiment, the RF reader 120 is activated, the medical container is placed in close proximity to the RF reader 120, and then the medical container is loaded into the pump. This reading process may involve transmitting a query signal to the RFID tag 20 and then receiving data signals in response, as explained above.

[0042] In step 630, the RF reader 120 retrieves data related to the contents in the medical container based upon the data signals received from the RFID tag 20 reading. The data may include the name of the medical fluid, the infusion rate at which the medical fluid is to be delivered to the patient, the amount of medical fluid contained in the medical container, and/or the expected delivery time of the medical fluid. The RF reader 120 may acquire the data directly from the data signals received from the RFID tag 20. Alternatively, the RF reader 120 may acquire an identifier, e.g., a serial number, from the signals received from the RFID tag 20, and retrieve data from a database using the identifier.

[0043] This latter alternative is shown in FIG. 7, in which a RF reader 120 is linked to a database 710 via a communications link 720, e.g., a wire or wireless link. The RF reader 120 may transmit the identifier obtained from the RFID tag 20 to the database 710 via the communications link 720. A controller (not shown) of the database 710 may retrieve data stored in its memory that is uniquely associated with the identifier, and transmit the retrieved data to the RF reader 120 via the communications link 720.

[0044] In step 640, the RF reader 120 may electronically transmit all or part of the data obtained from the RFID tag 20 to a controller of the pump. Alternatively, if the data is stored in a database, all or part of the data associated with the identifier identifying the medical container may be transmitted from the database directly to the pump controller.

[0045] In step 650, the healthcare worker may prepare the pump for delivery of the medical fluid to the patient. For example, if a peristaltic pump 430 and an IV bag 15 are used, as shown in FIG. 4, the healthcare worker may thread a tube 450 fluidly coupled at one end to the IV bag 15 through the peristaltic pump 430. The other end of the tube 450 may be coupled to the patient intended to receive the medical fluid, e.g., using conventional intravenous methods. Alternatively, if a syringe pump 530 and a syringe 25 are used, as shown in FIG. 5, the healthcare worker may place the syringe 25 in the syringe holder 540 and fluidly couple one end of a tube 545 to the syringe 25. The other end of the tube 545 may be coupled to the patient, similar to the peristaltic pump.

[0046] In step 660, the pump controller 140 may display some or all of the data received from the RF reader 120, e.g., on a monitor or other display. The displayed data may include the name of the medical fluid, the infusion rate at which the medical fluid is to be delivered, the amount of medical fluid contained in the medical container 15 or delivery device 25 and/or the expected delivery time of the medical fluid.

[0047] In step 670, the pump controller 140 may present the healthcare worker with an inquiry whether to proceed with delivering the medical fluid to the patient. The healthcare worker may indicate his or her decision to the pump controller 140, e.g., by pressing a “yes” or “no” button on an input device, such as a keypad, touch screen, or keyboard. This provides the healthcare worker with an opportunity to confirm the data displayed by the pump controller 140, e.g., the infusion rate displayed on the display with data printed on the medical container or other records associated with the patient before proceeding with delivery. If the healthcare worker decides not to proceed, the pump controller 140 does not deliver the medical fluid to the patient, e.g., after confirming the healthcare worker's decision. If the healthcare worker decides to proceed, the pump controller 140 proceeds to step 680.

[0048] In step 680, the pump controller 140 may activate a pumping mechanism 150 of the pump to deliver the medical fluid from the medical container to the patient at the infusion rate included in the data received from the RFID tag 20 associated with the medical container. If the infusion rate includes a plurality of rates for a sequence of time periods, the controller may automatically adjust the pumping mechanism to deliver the medical fluid as instructed by the data.

[0049] Thus, a delivery system in accordance with the present invention may electronically program a pump to deliver medical fluid to a patient, thereby reducing the potential for human error associated with manually programming a pump. The RF reader 120 may retrieve delivery data needed to program the pump and other data related to the medical fluid by reading data from the RFID tag 20 associated with the medical container. The RF reader 120 may electrically transmit the data to the pump, which may then deliver the medical fluid to the patient in accordance with the instructions received with the data. Thus, the healthcare worker does not need to manually enter data into the pump, which may result in too little or too much medication being delivered to the patient.

[0050] Optionally, the pump may provide the healthcare worker with an opportuiity to decide whether to program the pump manually or automatically, i.e., to turn off the automatic programming procedures described above. For example, the healthcare worker may press a “manual/auto” mode button on the input device to toggle between manual and automatic programming. In the manual mode, the healthcare worker may manually enter the infusion rate using the input device, and the pump controller 140 may set the pump mechanism 150 to the entered infusion rate. In automatic mode, the RF reader 120 may electronically read and/or transmit the infusion rate to the pump controller 140, which may set the pump mechanism 150 accordingly.

[0051] In alternative embodiments, the RF reader 120 may be coupled to other devices in addition to the pump for transmitting data read from RFID tags 20 to the other devices and/or for performing other tasks. For example, the RF reader 120 and/or pump may also be coupled to a bedside terminal for performing medication error checks. The RF reader 120 may transfer data from the RFID tag 20 to the bedside terminal, which may verify that the patient is actually the correct patient intended to receive the medical fluid in the medical container.

[0052] For example, in one embodiment, the data read from the RFID tag 20 of the medical container may include an intended patient identifier that may be compared with data stored in the bedside terminal or in a database accessible from the bedside terminal. A terminal may be associated with each patient, e.g., at the patient's bedside, that may include an identifier uniquely associated with the patient, e.g., stored within memory of the terminal. When a medical container is brought to the patient, the intended patient identifier retrieved with the other data from the RFID tag 20 of the medical container may be compared to the identifier stored in the terminal memory to confirm that the correct medical fluid is being provided to the correct patient.

[0053] Alternatively, the terminal may relay an identifier uniquely associated with the medical container to a central database, which may confirm that the patient's records indicate that the patient has been prescribed and/or is intended to receive the medical fluid in the medical container. The bedside terminal, the RF reader 120, and/or the pump itself may also confirm that an expiration date of the medical fluid has not passed, which may be particularly important for certain medications with limited lives, such as chemotherapy drugs. If any of these confirmations returns a negative result (e.g., wrong patient, wrong medical fluid, expired medical fluid), an output may be displayed, e.g., on the RF reader 120, the pump, or the bedside terminal, instructing the healthcare worker not to proceed with the treatment. This output may provide the healthcare worker an opportunity to investigate any potential problems, e.g., call the pharmacy or patient's doctor, to determine how best to proceed. Additional information on systems and methods that may be used for such medical error prevention procedures may be found in copending application Ser. No. 10/085,472, filed Feb. 26, 2002, co-pending application Ser. No. 09,957,108, filed Sep. 19, 2001, and co-pending application Ser. No. 09/811,317 filed Mar. 15, 2001, the disclosure of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0054] While the invention is susceptible to various modifications, and alternative forms, specific examples thereof have been shown in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not to be limited to the particular forms or methods disclosed, but to the contrary, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification299/1.9, 340/853.1
International ClassificationA61M5/142, G06F19/00, A61M5/172
Cooperative ClassificationG06F19/3412, A61M2205/3592, A61M5/142, A61M2005/14208, A61M5/172, A61M2205/6018, G06F19/3468, A61M2205/6054
European ClassificationG06F19/34A1, G06F19/34L3, A61M5/172, A61M5/142
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: MEPS REALTIME, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SAFETY SYRINGES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:017015/0236
Effective date: 20051220
Dec 20, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: SAFETY SYRINGES, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CAPUTO, JIMMY;ANDREASSON, CHRISTER O.;REEL/FRAME:013858/0349;SIGNING DATES FROM 20021121 TO 20021122