US 20060070895 A1
A novel drug dispensing and tracking system is provided. In one aspect, the system is provided as a kit comprising a plurality of coded containers and a correspondingly coded medication administration record sheet. The invention also includes a method of dispensing medications.
1. A kit for multi-dose delivery of medications, said kit comprising a plurality of pill containers coded for administration on a certain day or time and a medication administration recordation sheet having corresponding coding for the day or time.
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The present invention relates to a system for monitoring drug delivery in hospitals and other medical facilities. More particularly, it relates to a kit to be used by a pharmacist and nurse to reduce errors in the drug delivery process.
In a hospital or other institutional setting, a nurse is frequently required to keep track of medications for different patients and to make sure that every patient gets the correct medication at the correct time of day. It is known however, that errors in drug administration do occur. Such errors pose a threat to the patient and may interfere with their treatment and recovery. In the worst cases, administration of an incorrect drug to patient can have serious health effects and is some times even fatal.
There are many steps in the drug delivery process where an error can occur. Normally, the attending physician prescribes a drug or several drugs for a patient. The prescription is inputted into the pharmacy through a paper prescription or through a centralized computer system. The pharmacist prepares the prescriptions required for each patient. The actual delivery of the drugs or medications to the patient is done by a nurse or other hospital staff person that goes from patient to patient, identifies the patient and delivers the appropriate medication to that patient. The nurse or practitioner then signs a record sheet indicating that the medication was in fact administered at that time.
Errors can occur at any stage of the drug delivery procedure. For example, some errors result from an erroneous prescription by the physician. Other errors occur during the delivery chain when either the pharmacist provides the wrong drug or the nurse administers medication to the wrong patient or at the wrong time. The present invention is directed towards reducing errors in the delivery chain by coordinating the delivery container with a record sheet that the practitioner signs when the drug is administered.
In recent years, several different types of medication containers have been developed in order to attempt to reduce the number of errors in the drug delivery chain. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,079 is directed to a set of individual pill containers. A sheet of plastic material is provided which has a plurality of molded recesses. Each of the recesses defines a small upwardly open cavity that can be filled with pills. After filling, a set of these individual pill containers, a self-adhesive sheet of paper is used to cover and seal the containers. This type of system is particularly useful when a patient needs to take a plurality of pills at different times of the day. For example, a patient may require pills (a) and (b) three times a day and pills (a) (b) and (c) once a day. The different medications for each time of day can be put in a separate container in the set.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,050,739 discloses another type of disposable medication package that comprises a card used in conjunction with a blister pack to hold oral solid dose medication in the form of tablets and capsules. By looking at the medication card, a patient can easily see whether or not they have taken the required medication at the required time.
Another type of known dispensing system is the unit-dose system. Unit-dose systems have separate packages for each medication with 30-day quantities. e.g. Tylenol 325 mg has its own card, Lipitor 10 mg has its own card, etc. There are problems associated with this excessive packaging including environmental pollution and operational inefficiency for nursing staff since much time is spent popping pills out of each and every blister pack.
Thus, there remains a need for further improvements in the tracking of drugs from the pharmacist to the patient. There is also a need for a system that makes it easier for a nurse to dispense the medication and to see at a glance which medication should be given.
It is an object of one aspect of the invention to provide a drug delivery system that facilitates tracking of the administration of a drug to a patient.
The present invention is particularly useful for a multi-dose system in which different and multiple medications, that are to be administered at the same time, are packaged together within the same container. This dramatically reduces nursing time spent as well as the negative environmental impacts of unit dose systems.
The drug delivery system of the present invention is preferably provided as a kit. The kit comprises a plurality of pill containers coded for administration on a certain day or time and a medication administration record sheet coded in the same manner. The pill containers may be in the form of a cup, an envelope or a receptacle in a plastic pill case or a blister pack.
In a preferred embodiment, the pill containers are receptacles in a blister pack and the sealing backsheet is color coded for times of day. The same color coding is applied to the medication record sheet.
These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings wherein:
There is a crucial need to ensure the safe delivery of medications to patients in hospitals, retirement homes and other institutions. This need is highlighted when a patient may be taking more than one medication and different medications at different times of the day.
To facilitate the appropriate administration of medication, it is currently a practice for the pharmacist to review the list of medications prescribed for a patient and then prepare a series of pill containers where each container contains the medications that the patient should be taking at a certain time of day. The medications for all the patients are then delivered to the hospital ward or institution and the medication is given to the appropriate patient by a nurse or other qualified individual. Once the medication has been given to the patient, the person administering it signs a record sheet indicating what medicine was given at what time. It is very important to keep good records of the administration to keep track of what was actually administered (as opposed to prescribed) for the patient at that time. This allows institutions to track the drugs and it also provides an important record in case of any adverse effects. Furthermore, it allows a practitioner to look at a glance and see what medications a patient is under the influence of at any particular time of day.
The present invention makes the tracking of medication administration even easier by providing pill containers and sign-off sheets that work together to prevent errors. In the prior art, pill containers could be identified in various ways, i.e. by patient name, by bed number, by prescription number, etc. The recordation sheet could also be provided formatted in a variety of ways. The administering practitioner would then need to ensure that they were giving the right medication at the right time and that they were recording it properly on the recordation sheet. The present invention simplifies the process by providing a set of pill containers and a recordation sheet that match in terms of color and orientation. The invention is particularly useful for multi-dose systems where multiple medications are packaged together for administration at the same time of day. Thus, the nurse has to open only one package for all the medications prescribed for an individual patient for a certain time of day.
The invention is provided as a kit that comprises a set of pill containers arranged by day of the week and time of day and a corresponding medication administration record sheet. In one preferred embodiment, the pill containers are provided in a blister pack sealed with a backsheet that is printed with different indicia corresponding to different times of day. For example, the row corresponding to morning could be pink, the row corresponding to noon could be yellow, the row corresponding to evening could be blue and the row corresponding to night could be green. It is clearly apparent that various types of color or symbol coding can be used. The medication administration sheet also comprises rows corresponding to various times of day. An important aspect of the present invention is that the indicia corresponding to the different times are the same on the pill containers and on the medication record sheet. For example, if morning is pink on the pill container, then the row for morning on the medication administration sheet is also pink. In this way, it is very clear to the nurse or whoever is administering the medications that if it is morning, all the medications should be in pink containers. This also reduces the chance of errors in recording administration. If a pink container is being administered, then the sign-off should be on a pink row. By maintaining the same coding on both the pill container and the record sheet, the probability of an error occurring is reduced.
Preferred embodiments of a kit according to the present invention are illustrated in
The backsheet is provided with differential markings or indicia which correspond to times of the day when medication is usually administered. For example, in the Figures, the row corresponding to morning is identified by horizontal lines 18, the row corresponding to noon is identified by backward hatching 20, the row corresponding to evening is identified by vertical lines 22 and the row corresponding to night is identified by forward hatching 24. It is clearly apparent that while the pill container set is shown with rows for four times of day for exemplary purposes, a set of containers could be provided which correspond to only once a day or a set of containers could be provided with markings corresponding to eight or more dosage times.
The kit of the invention further comprises a medication administration record sheet 30. Examples of record sheets are shown in
A more preferred record sheet for use in the kit of the present invention is shown in
While a preferred embodiment is illustrated using a blister-pack type of container system, it is clearly apparent that other pill container systems, such as envelopes, cups, cardboard sheets, reusable plastic pill containers such as those having a plurality of receptacles for time and day of the week and the like could also be used in the present invention, as long as the container markings correspond to the markings on the sign-off sheet for the same time. In the illustrated embodiments, the markings are different for different times of day but are the same for different days of the week. In another preferred embodiment, unique indicia are used for days of the week. In a further preferred embodiment different indicia are used for both the times of day and the day of the week. For example, Sunday could be yellow and morning could be a horizontal stripe. Thus, Sunday morning would be yellow with a horizontal stripe and Wednesday morning might be blue with a horizontal stripe and so on. It is also apparent that the orientation of the rows and columns is flexible within the scope of the invention. For example, while the days are shown as columns and the times of day are shown as rows in the drawings provided herein, the days could just as easily be aligned as rows and the times as columns. While the important aspect is that the coding on the pill container and on the recordation sheet match, it is preferable, but not essential, that the orientation in rows and columns also matches.
A method of dispensing medications is provided. Multiple medications to be administered to a patient at a particular time of time are placed in a pill container that is coded for that time of day. A medication administration sheet that is coded in the same manner as the pill container for the same time of day is filled in indicating the medications to be administered and the sheet and the containers are provided to the person who will be administering the medications.
The present invention also provides a method of dispensing medication. The method comprises the steps of obtaining a container coded for a particular time of day that is filled with medications for administration at that time of day, administering the medications and signing off on the administration on a medication administration record which has the same coding for time of day.
The present invention has been described with regard to one or more embodiments. However, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that a number of variations and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the claims.