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Publication numberUS20070062156 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/507,850
Publication dateMar 22, 2007
Filing dateAug 22, 2006
Priority dateAug 25, 2005
Publication number11507850, 507850, US 2007/0062156 A1, US 2007/062156 A1, US 20070062156 A1, US 20070062156A1, US 2007062156 A1, US 2007062156A1, US-A1-20070062156, US-A1-2007062156, US2007/0062156A1, US2007/062156A1, US20070062156 A1, US20070062156A1, US2007062156 A1, US2007062156A1
InventorsJun Kim
Original AssigneeKim Jun H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic medicine packing system
US 20070062156 A1
Abstract
An automatic medicine packing system includes a packing envelope roll, a medicine supply unit that supplies a medicine dispensed from a tablet cassette according to prescription data, a sealing unit that heat seal a packing envelope, a database that stores prescription data, user data, and status data of the system, an wireless communication unit, an authentication unit that that authenticates the user data, a control unit, and a wireless terminal. The authentication unit includes multi-level user permission, and the authentication unit set particular level user permission according to the authentication result of the user. The multi-level user permission includes an administrator level, a packing operation user level and a monitoring operation user level. The wireless terminal includes a smart chip that contains user's authentication data.
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Claims(18)
1. An automatic medicine packing system having a plurality of tablet cassettes, comprising:
a) a packing envelope roll that is adapted to hold packing envelopes;
b) a medicine supply unit that is adapted to supply a medicine dispensed from a tablet cassette according to prescription data;
c) a sealing unit that is adapted to heat seal a packing envelope that contains the medicine supplied by the medicine supply unit;
d) a database that stores prescription data, user data, and status data of the automatic medicine packing system;
e) an wireless communication unit, wherein the wireless communication unit receives and transmits the prescription data, the user data and the status data, wherein the wireless communication unit exchanges data with the database;
f) an authentication unit that authenticates the user data communicated by the wireless communication unit; and
g) a control unit that controls the system to be operated according to the authentication result by the authentication unit, and to pack the medicine according to the prescription data.
2. The automatic medicine packing system claim 1, wherein the authentication unit includes multi-level user permission, and the authentication unit sets particular level user permission according to the authentication result of the user.
3. The automatic medicine packing system claim 2, wherein the multi-level user permission comprises an administrator level, a packing operation user level and a monitoring operation user level, wherein the administrator level can set and monitor every state of the automatic medicine packing system and can adjust permission of other users, wherein the packing operation user level can command packing of medicine, wherein the monitoring operation user level can monitor the operation status of the automatic medicine packing system.
4. The automatic medicine packing system claim 1, wherein the prescription data, the user data and the status data are transmitted in encrypted state.
5. The automatic medicine packing system claim 4, wherein public key and private key are used in encrypting.
6. The automatic medicine packing system claim 1, further comprising a wireless terminal, wherein the wireless terminal communicates with the wireless communication unit.
7. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the wireless terminal comprises one of notebook computer, PDA, smart phone and cellular phone.
8. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the wireless communication unit comprises one of wireless LAN, bluetooth, Zigbee and RF module.
9. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the authentication unit includes multi-level user permission, and the authentication unit set particular level user permission according to the authentication result of the user.
10. The automatic medicine packing system claim 9, wherein the multi-level user permission comprises an administrator level, a packing operation user level and a monitoring operation user level, wherein the administrator level can set and monitor every state of the automatic medicine packing system and can adjust permission of other users, wherein the packing operation user level can command packing of medicine, wherein the monitoring operation user level can monitor the operation status of the automatic medicine packing system.
11. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the prescription data, the user data and the status data are transmitted in encrypted state.
12. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the wireless terminal embeds a smart chip that contains user's authentication data.
13. The automatic medicine packing system claim 12, wherein the wireless terminal comprises a socket that receives the smart chip.
14. The automatic medicine packing system claim 6, wherein the wireless terminal comprises a smart chip that is detachably attached to the wireless terminal.
15. The automatic medicine packing system claim 14, wherein the wireless terminal comprises a slot that receives a memory card in which the smart chip is embedded.
16. The automatic medicine packing system claim 15, wherein the database stores history of the prescription data, the user data and the status data.
17. The automatic medicine packing system claim 16, wherein the wireless communication unit transmits data stored in the database to the wireless terminal.
18. The automatic medicine packing system claim 1, wherein the database stores history of the prescription data, the user data and the status data.
Description
    CLAIMING FOREIGN PRIORITY
  • [0001]
    The applicant claims and requests a foreign priority, through the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, based on patent applications filed in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with the filing date of Aug. 25, 2005 with the patent application number 10-2005-0078276 by the applicant, the contents of which are incorporated by reference into this disclosure as if fully set forth herein.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to an automatic medicine packing system. More particularly, this invention relates to an automatic medicine packing system in which a user can command packing of medicine and easily monitor the progress and result.
  • [0003]
    Generally, an automatic medicine-packing machine refers to a machine that is installed in a hospital or a pharmacy, and automatically packs a dose of medicine that was dispensed by a pharmacist according to a prescription. Construction and operation of such a general medicine-packing machine are explained with FIG. 1.
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1 shows an automatic medicine-packing machine 100 that includes a plurality of tablet cassettes 110 and cartridges 111 that house the cassettes 110. A tablet supply unit 120 is provided in the lower portion of the automatic medicine-packing machine 100. A hopper 130, a printing unit 140, and a sealing unit 150 are provided below the tablet supply unit 120.
  • [0005]
    The automatic medicine-packing machine 100 that has the above-explained mechanism discharges a tablet or tablets from the tablet cassette 110 to the tablet supply unit 120 according to a prescription transmitted from a server that is an externally installed device, then the tablet supply unit 120 drops tablets of one dose to the hopper 130. The tablets dropped to the hopper 130 are contained in a packing envelope that is supplied from a packing envelope roll, and on which information is printed by the printing unit 140. Then the packing envelope is heat sealed by the sealing unit 150. In this way, tablets are continuously packed by one dose.
  • [0006]
    As the number of users of an automatic medicine-packing machine, that is, the number of pharmacists increases and as the number of medicines that are prepared increases, the more control terminals are required, and a complex network construction between the automatic medicine-packing machine and the plurality of control terminals is required. As the size of the network increases in this way, construction for cable wiring etc. in the pharmacy becomes more complex, and especially expansion of a pharmacy or facility change due to location change requires substantial cost and time.
  • [0007]
    Since an error in packing medicine may be fatal, checking whether packing error occurred should be possible at any time and anywhere. Also strict authorization of a user is required to ensure only an authorized user can operate the packing machine. However, in an environment of an ordinary office, a terminal like a computer is prone to unauthorized use, and thus it was difficult to identify the user if an error had occurred. Also, there was a problem of efficiency drop since when a pharmacist wants to check the packing operation state of a medicine packing machine that is remotely positioned, he or she needs to be away from his or her seat, and in such case the pharmacist should stop every other work.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    The present invention contrives to solve the disadvantages of the prior art.
  • [0009]
    An objective of the invention is to provide a medicine packing system that can prevent wiring for network inside a hospital or a pharmacy from becoming complex, and can be easily adapted to expansion, change and moving of a facility, and has no positional limitation of user control using wireless network.
  • [0010]
    Another objective of the invention is to provide a medicine packing system that prohibits access to the system except users who are authorized to control the packing system, and strengthens security by easily identifying a user who commanded a medicine to be packed.
  • [0011]
    Still another objective of the invention is to provide a medicine packing system that provides multi-level user rights that allow a user limited range of operation, thereby strengthening security of the system, reducing malfunctions and efficiently managing the system.
  • [0012]
    In order to achieve the above objective, the present invention provides an automatic medicine packing system having a plurality of tablet cassettes. The system includes a packing envelope roll that is adapted to hold packing envelopes, a medicine supply unit that is adapted to supply a medicine dispensed from a tablet cassette according to prescription data, a sealing unit that is adapted to heat seal a packing envelope that contains the medicine supplied by the medicine supply unit, a database that stores prescription data, user data, and status data of the automatic medicine packing system, a wireless communication unit, an authentication unit that authenticates the user data and a control unit that controls the system to be operated according to the data authenticated by the authentication unit, and to pack the medicine according to the prescription data.
  • [0013]
    The authentication unit includes multi-level user permission, and the authentication unit sets particular level user permission according to the authentication result of the user.
  • [0014]
    The multi-level user permission includes an administrator level, a packing operation user level and a monitoring operation user level. The administrator level can set and monitor every state of the automatic medicine packing system and can adjust permission of other users. The packing operation user level can command packing of medicine. The monitoring operation user level can monitor the operation status of the automatic medicine packing system.
  • [0015]
    The wireless communication unit receives and transmits the prescription data, the user data and the status data. The wireless communication unit exchanges data with the database.
  • [0016]
    The prescription data, the user data and the status data are transmitted in encrypted state.
  • [0017]
    The automatic medicine packing system further includes a wireless terminal. The wireless terminal communicates with the wireless communication unit.
  • [0018]
    The wireless communication unit receives and transmits the prescription data, the user data and the status data. The wireless communication unit transmits data stored in the database to the wireless terminal per user's request.
  • [0019]
    The wireless terminal includes one of notebook computer, PDA, smart phone and cellular phone.
  • [0020]
    The wireless communication unit includes one of wireless LAN, bluetooth, Zigbee and RF module.
  • [0021]
    The wireless terminal embeds a smart chip that contains user's authentication data, and is detachably attached to the wireless terminal.
  • [0022]
    The advantages of the present invention are: (1) the automatic medicine packing system prevents network wiring of a pharmacy from becoming complex; (2) the system improves security features of the system; and (3) the operation of the system becomes stable since it is possible to control the system with a wireless terminal regardless of the position of a user.
  • [0023]
    Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0024]
    These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • [0025]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic front elevation view of a general medicine packing machine;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an automatic medicine packing system according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a Zigbee transmission/reception module, which is a wireless communication module that is applicable to the automatic medicine packing system of the invention;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 4 a is an illustrative perspective view of a wireless terminal that can embed a smart chip according to the present invention; and
  • [0029]
    FIG. 4 b is an illustrative perspective view of a wireless terminal to which a smart chip according to the present invention can be attached in a detachable way.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0030]
    FIG. 2 shows an automatic medicine packing system 200 having a plurality of tablet cassettes. The system 200 shares common elements of the basic automatic medicine packing machine 100 that is explained above referring FIG. 1. The system 200 includes a packing envelope roll 210 that is adapted to hold packing envelopes, a medicine supply unit 220 that is adapted to supply a medicine dispensed from a tablet cassette according to prescription data, a sealing unit 230 that is adapted to heat seal a packing envelope that contains the medicine supplied by the medicine supply unit 220, a database 240 that stores prescription data, user data, and status data of the automatic medicine packing system 200, a wireless communication unit 250, an authentication unit 260 that authenticates the user data, and a control unit 270 that controls the system 200 to be operated according to the data authenticated by the authentication unit 260, and to pack the medicine according to the prescription data.
  • [0031]
    Packing envelopes for packing medicine are wound around the packing envelope roll 210. The packing envelopes are provided to other relevant unit from the packing envelope roll 210. The other unit may include the printing unit 140 that prints information on the packing envelope.
  • [0032]
    The medicine supply unit 220 supplies one dose of medicine, which was dispensed automatically from the tablet cassette 110 per prescription data, into the hopper 130 per predetermined setting.
  • [0033]
    The sealing unit 230 is a kind of heater, and heat-seals the packing envelope that contains medicine provided by the medicine supply unit 220 according to control by the control unit 270.
  • [0034]
    The database 240 stores history of medicine packing information that has been transmitted from the wireless terminal 280 that a pharmacist uses. The medicine packing information includes the prescription data that is related to the medicine to be packed, which includes an order number, amount or content of each medicine, or composition of the prescribed medicine, the user data that is associated to the order number of the prescription data and represent status of the automatic medicine packing system 200 including time of packing request, time of packing completion, progress, error log, etc. per order, and the status data that includes personal data and authentication related data for a user who requested medicine packing.
  • [0035]
    The authentication unit 260 includes multi-level user permission, and the authentication unit 260 sets particular level user permission according to the authentication result of the user.
  • [0036]
    The multi-level user permission includes an administrator level, a packing operation user level and a monitoring operation user level. The administrator level can set and monitor every state of the automatic medicine packing system 200 and can adjust permission of other users. The packing operation user level can command packing of medicine. The monitoring operation user level can monitor the operation status of the automatic medicine packing system 200.
  • [0037]
    The wireless communication unit 250 receives and transmits the prescription data, the user data and the status data. The prescription data, the user data and the status data are transmitted in encrypted state.
  • [0038]
    The automatic medicine packing system 200 further includes a wireless terminal 280. The wireless terminal 280 communicates with the wireless communication unit 250.
  • [0039]
    The wireless terminal 280 includes one of notebook computer, PDA, smart phone and cellular phone. The wireless communication unit 250 includes one of wireless LAN, bluetooth, Zigbee and RF module. Variety of wireless communication methods may be used. When a notebook computer or a mobile communication terminal is used as the wireless terminal 280, wireless LAN and wireless internet are used. In addition, it is possible to use currently widely used short distance wireless communication methods such as Bluetooth and Zigbee. Or a conventional RF communication module can also be used.
  • [0040]
    The wireless communication unit is installed in each of the automatic medicine packing system 200 and the wireless terminal 280 for a user. The wireless communication unit 250 transmits and receives data under the control of the control unit 270.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 3 shows an example that constructs the wireless communication unit 250. FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a Zigbee communication module 310. The Zigbee communication module 310 includes an analog receiver 312 and an analog transmitter 314 to receive and transmit electromagnetic wave, a digital transceiver 316 that digitizes electromagnetic wave that is received or transmitted, a buffer RAM 318 to temporarily store data, an IRQ arbiter 320 and an RAM arbiter 322 that adjusts network, and control commands, etc., and a control logic 324, a GPIO 326 and an SPI 328 etc. that control short distance per specified standard and provide external interface. The Zigbee communication module 310 uses bandwidth of 868 Mhz/915 Mhz or 2.4 Ghz. Preferably, a 2.4 Ghz Zigbee transceiver that has fast transmission speed is used. Experiment showed that when 2.4 Ghz bandwidth is used, the maximum transmission speed is 250 Kbps, the maximum transmission distance is 30 m indoor and 100 m outdoor. As the channel access method in MAC protocol, since CSMA/CA only consumes very much power in Beacon Listen, CSMA/CA+ Optional guaranteed time slotting method may also be used.
  • [0042]
    Zigbee is a standard for hardware and software based on IEEE 802.15.4, and is distinguished from Bluetooth that is based on IEEE 802.15.1. Detailed explanation for Bluetooth, RF communication and wireless LAN are omitted since they use similar protocols and have similar construction.
  • [0043]
    The authentication unit 260 receives user information from the wireless terminal 280 and authenticates the user. If authentication is successful, the automatic medicine packing system 100 is operated and medicine-packing command is performed. If authentication fails, a failure message is sent to the user's wireless terminal. That is, user authentication is performed in order to check whether a medicine-packing command is issued by a legitimate user, a pharmacist, or other authorized user.
  • [0044]
    The control unit 270 controls the general operation of the automatic medicine packing system 200. When a user is authenticated as a legitimate user as a result of the authentication process by the authentication unit 260, the control unit 270 controls the medicine supply unit 220, the packing envelope roll 210 and the sealing unit 230 etc. so that the medicine is packed.
  • [0045]
    The automatic medicine packing system 200 may further include additional network facilities, an embedded user interface, a display, and a printing unit that prints information on the packing envelope, etc., for which known elements may be employed.
  • [0046]
    For the authentication method, a method using private key/public key may be used. Preferably, a method with a smart card may be used. A certificate is issued with the method using private key/public key. Depending on the method of implementing such certificate with software/hardware, hard disk method or a smart card method may be used.
  • [0047]
    According to the hard disk method, or a floppy disk method, storing and maintenance of data related to user's authentication are performed by creating specific folders and file names.
  • [0048]
    According to the smart card method, recording of authentication data includes classifying information for signature and information for encryption, and classifying again user information section for recording user related information, TYPE information section for storing user card distinction information, signature private key section for recording signature private key for user, signature certificate section for recording signature certificate for user, signature private key hash value section for recording hash value for checking integrity of signature private key. In the smart card method, it is possible to implement that secret keys for signature and encryption are encrypted by PKCS#5 and stored by PKCS#8. In performing authentication according to this standard, when an official certificate is used, separate official certificate issuing facility and authentication facility are required, and a separate network construction for these is required.
  • [0049]
    The wireless terminal 280 can be implemented with any wireless terminal that can communicate wireless, to which commands can be input, and can display data transmitted from the automatic medicine packing system 200. It is also possible to control the automatic medicine packing system 200 by installing independent wireless LAN card or wireless LAN module with IEEE 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g specification.
  • [0050]
    Short distance wireless communication including conventional RF communication, Bluetooth, Zigbee is also possible. While Bluetooth has an advantage that higher speed data transmission is possible compared to Zigbee, it has disadvantages that it consumes much of battery power and the communication distance is short. Accordingly, recent trend is to implement short distance wireless communication with Zigbee unless there is need for multimedia or other large capacity data transmission.
  • [0051]
    For the wireless terminal 280, PDA, smart phone, or a terminal that includes dedicated display and input device can also be used in addition to a portable computer and mobile communication terminal.
  • [0052]
    If the prescription data, status data and user data leak to the other people, there is a risk of leaking not only personal medical information but also hospitals business secret. If the above data are forged or altered, serious problems in patient's health may be caused. Especially, wireless communication has physical security weakness, and encryption of transmitted data is required to improve security functions. As explained above, one embodiment of present invention employs encryption with public key/private key.
  • [0053]
    In storing user authentication data, it is possible to implement general software to encrypt and store data in a general all-purpose memory. It is also possible to use a separate hardware including a smart card or a smart chip to store data. As explained above, when a floppy disk, a hard disk, or a USB storage device etc. is used to store a person's official certificate, etc., it is convenient in that only software for recording and storing is required; no other hardware or cost is required; and transferring and moving from one storage device to another storage device is easy. On the other hand, it has disadvantages that since only software security function is provided, there is a risk of secret code or authentication number leak, and that if the software security function is removed, security function is lost. Therefore, the general trend is that a security system that utilizes both hardware and software like a smart chip or a smart card is used for high security applications including mobile banking.
  • [0054]
    Referring FIGS. 4 a and 4 b, the wireless terminal 280 embeds a smart chip 300 that contains user's authentication data. A smart chip may be made in a portable memory card 440, and the portable memory card 440 can be inserted in a slot 430 provided in the wireless terminal 280 so that the smart chip is detachably attached to the wireless terminal 280. With the smart chip, the wireless terminal 280 authenticates a user, and controls the automatic medicine packing system 200.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 4 a shows an embodiment in which the wireless terminal 280 embeds a smart chip 420. If the wireless terminal 280 is a mobile communication terminal, the smart chard 420 has eight contacts, C1˜C8. C1 is for power supply (Vcc). C2 is for Reset. C3 is for clock input. C4 is for reserved connection (N/C) and is kept open. C5 is for grounding (GND). C6 is for program voltage (Vpp). C7 is for serial data input/output (DATA). C8 is for reserved connection (N/C). The wireless terminal 280 includes a socket 410 in which the smart chip 420 is received.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 4 b shows an embodiment in which a smart chip is detachably attached to the wireless terminal 280. If an smart chip is embedded in a wireless terminal, another wireless terminal cannot control the automatic medicine packing system. The smart chip 300 is embedded in the portable memory card 440, and the memory card 440 is inserted into a memory card slot 430. Since the memory card 440 usually has a very small size and thus is easy to carry. The memory card 440 may be constructed to be detachably attached to an identification card so that a user may insert a memory card type smart chip, which was separated from his or her identification card, into his or her wireless terminal.
  • [0057]
    When connection is established between the wireless terminal 280 and the automatic medicine packing system 200, whether the user can use the system is determined through user authentication process. At this time, the control unit 270 also sets the level of the user.
  • [0058]
    The administrator can command packing of medicine; set and monitor every state of the automatic medicine packing system including start and stop of the system, and change of operation setting; and can add, delete users and adjust permission of other users.
  • [0059]
    The packing operation user can command packing of medicine after connecting with her or his identification, and monitor the status and packing result according to the command.
  • [0060]
    The monitoring operation user cannot directly command packing of medicine, but can monitor the operation status of the automatic medicine packing system including preparation and packing status of medicine on a limited basis. This user level is for a doctor, other personnel or a patient so that they can monitor the status of medicine packing depending on their need.
  • [0061]
    With the above construction, when facilities in an hospital or a pharmacy are expanded or moved, adaptation is easy since cost and time for the expansion or moving work are reduced. When a user like a pharmacist is away, or when there is no wired terminal, it is possible to control the medicine packing system and monitor the status thereby greatly increasing work efficiency.
  • [0062]
    Other advantageous effects include reinforced security function in that an unauthorized user is prevented from access to the medicine packing system, and it is easy to check who ordered to pack particular medicine.
  • [0063]
    The automatic medicine packing system also enables efficient system maintenance with the multi-level classification of users of the system.
  • [0064]
    While the invention has been shown and described with reference to different embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations in form, detail, compositions and operation may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/131.5
International ClassificationB65B61/26
Cooperative ClassificationB65B57/00, B65B5/103
European ClassificationB65B57/00, B65B5/10B1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 13, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: JVM CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KIM, JUN HO;REEL/FRAME:021384/0289
Effective date: 20080812