US 3773250 A
The disclosure herein describes an improved system of dispensing medicine in hospitals; it includes a novel envelope for ordering and obtaining from the pharmacy the medication prescribed for a patient. Indicia representative of the medication and of the patient being administered the medication appear on the flap of the envelope and on the envelope itself. When the envelope is received in the pharmacy, the person responsible removes the detachable flap and files it; he, then, fills the pocket of the envelope with the medication prescribed. The system further includes an improvement in the construction of the package strip of the type having medication containing sealed compartments and being severable between the compartments; the strip is provided with a detachable continuously flat tail portion on which information relating to the medication contained in the sealed compartments is indicated. This tail portion is then affixed on the envelope to show that the medication has been administered to the patient according to the delivery period also indicated on the envelope.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Phillips NOV. 20, 1973 MEDICATION DISPENSING  Inventor: George F. Phillips, Laval, Quebec,
Canada  Assignee: The North American Dye Corporation Limited, Montreal, Quebec, Canada  Filed: July 14, 1971  Appl. No.: 162,389
Primary Examiner-Herbert F. Ross Assistant Examiner-Stephen P. Garbe AttorneyCushman, Darby & Cushman 57 ABSTRACT The disclosure herein describes an improved system of dispensing medicine in hospitals; it includes a novel envelope for ordering and obtaining from the pharmacy the medication prescribed for a patient. Indicia representative of the medication and of the patient being administered the medication appear on the flap of the envelope and on the envelope itself. When the envelope is received in the pharmacy, the person responsible removes the detachable flap and files it; he, then, fills the pocket of the envelope with the medication prescribed. The system further includes an improvement in the construction of the package strip of the type having medication containing sealed compartments and being severable between the compartments; the strip is provided with a detachable continuously flat tail portion on which information relating to the medication-contained in the sealed compartments is indicated. This tail portion is then affixed on the envelope to show that the medication has been administered to the patient according to the delivery period also indicated on the envelope.
,. .4 12 rayine fi rs PAIENIEI] NOV 20 1975 WWI- INVENTOR 59 George FPH/LL/PS BY MZMJH ZQLN PATENTEUHUY 20 ms 3.773.250
SHFFT 3 [IF 3 INVENT'OR George F PH/LL/PS izda izgmmim MEDICATION DISPENSING The present invention relates to medication dispensing; more particularly, the invention relates to an improved system for dispensing medication to patients in hospitals.
Generally, tablets and capsules containing medication, are kept in bottles labelled to identify the contents. Because of the small size of the capsule or tablet and a few identifying colors and combinations and letters available, there is no way of positively identifying the tablet or capsule once removed from labelled bottles. In the hospitals, when a drug is ordered for a patient, a drug requisition is prepared at the ward and sent to the pharmacy on a business form which is usually made in several copies. When the order arrives in the pharmacy, the pharmacist must check the prescription for accuracy, give it a file number, type a label, individually count the number of tablets or capsules, put them into another vial, box or envelope, attach the label and return the package to the ward. When the package arrives at the ward, it is usually stored in a medicine cupboard controlled by a medication nurse who has to review every hour her drug requirements by patient, dispense one or more tablets as required by the prescription, put them in a small cup on which the patients identification has been pencilled and assemble these on a cart; then she goes about delivering them to the ward.
The medication nurse takes the cart to the ward, identifies the patient, identifies his or her particular cup containing the medication, places the capsules in the patients hand and gives the patient a glass of water and witnesses the taking of the medicine. It can be seen by this procedure that, once the medication leaves the vial or container in which it gets to the medication nurse, she has no way of identifying positively the medication. She might, for example, have half a dozen cups with half a dozen white pills indistinguishable one from the other.
Having regard to this generally accepted traditional way of dispensing oral medication in a hospital, it is an object of the present invention to provide a greater degree of accuracy assuring that the proper medication gets to the proper patient, to improve the efficiency from a labor standpoint, both in the pharmacy and at the ward level, and to reduce the cost of disposable materials which are needed in the dispensing of the medication.
The method of dispensing medication in accordance with the present invention is generally as follows. The medication is ordered from the pharmacy by the ward in an envelope provided with a flap. On both the envelope pocket and the flap are printed identical forms which are essentially prescription forms to receive and convey the precise information for any given prescription. Filling in the form on the flap of the envelope, the prescription is copied onto the face of the envelope by carbon paper or by other suitable duplicating means. When this envelope with the order on it arrives in the pharmacy, the pharmacist checks for accuracy, removes the detachable flap, numbers it, and files it in his permanent prescription file.
In order to fill a prescription, the pharmacist proceeds to a rack of dispensers of a type having a number of side-by-side pockets, each containing a roll of medication. A typical roll is a sealed package strip in which consecutive compartments contain individual tablets or capsules and are separated from one another by a seal extending around the compartment. According to one aspect of the invention, a tear-ofl tail portion being continuously flat is provided running down the side of the strip. The tear-off tail portion has the name of the product in plain descriptive language for easy identification by the medication nurse and is cross-referenced to a code number which is printed directly on the other part of the strip containing the medication; this is to prevent recognition by the patient of the medication being administered. In addition to the code markings, the compartments are consecutively numbered to facilitate counting by the pharmacist as he retracts the strip from the dispenser.
As the pharmacist fills the prescription, he tears off the desired number of pockets from the body of the strip, inserts them in the envelope, returns the envelope to the ward for further processing by the medication nurse. At the top of the envelope is a time code and the nurse, using a colored marker, clip or colored pencil, indicates the times at which the medication is to go to the patient. She then files the envelope in a storage box according to room and bed number. At a given delivery period, the medication nurse takes the storage box for the ward to be served and places it on a cart. The alignment of the color markers for that particular hour indicate which envelopes are scheduled for delivery. She can then select immediately the ones which have to be administered at that particular hour. She proceeds by room order to the patient, identifies each patient, checks the medication against the original written order which appears on the front face of the envelope, identifies the medication by means of the detachable tail portion along the side, tears the tail portion from the strip, affixes it on the front face of the envelope and registers the time at which the medication was administered. She then tears open the compartmentand administers the medication.
Having thus generally described the system, it will be referred to in more detail by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: 1
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an envelope'used in accordnace with the present invention and shown in a folded position;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the envelope in FIG. 1 in an unfolded position;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the front face of the pocket of the envelope shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a dispensing cabinet;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a carton used for transporting the strip sealed medication and for loading the dispenser shown in FIG. 4',
FIG. 6 is a vertical cross-section showing the dispensing cabinet of FIG. 4 tilted forward in loading position for the carton of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view showing part of a roll of strip sealed medication;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a tailportion being detached from one medication pouch;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing a storage box loaded with envelope pockets according to FIG. 3 with protruding time tabs;
FIGS. 10 and 10a are respectively perspective and side views of the time tabs illustrated in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 1 1 illustrates a cart in which one or more boxes of FIG. 9 may be stored.
Referring to the drawings, like reference numerals will designate like or corresponding parts throughout.
The medication to be administered to a patient is ordered from the pharmacy by the ward in an envelope shown in FIGS. 1-3. The envelope 20 includes a medication-receiving portion 22 having a front wall 24 and a rear wall (not visible); the two walls are attached along three sides thereof thereby defining a pocket with an opening 26 at its upper portion. Wall 24 has a front face bearing a series of printing blocks 28, 29 and 30 for receiving indicia representative of the patients name and room number and of the medication to be administered to him; another block is for the pharmacists use for checking purposes. Blocks 28, 29 and 30 may cover the entire front face of wall 24 or may be disposed as shown in FIG. 3, leaving one area on the left-hand side of the pocket for another printed form 32; the upper portion of the front wall 24 is provided with time code 33, identifying, for example, the hours of the day.
Envelope 20 also consists of a foldable and detachable flap 34 which is the continuation of the rear wall of the envelope; the flap has a tear line 36, such as a weakened line formed of perforations and extending transversely at the opening 26 of the envelope. The flap 34 has a front face 38, continuous with the outside face of the rear wall of the pocket 22, and a rear face 40 adapted to overlap the front wall 24 of the pocket. Face 38 bears a series of blocks 42, 43 and 44-to receive the same information written on blocks 28, 29 and 30 of pocket 24; therefore, the blocks on face 38 are preferably in alignment with the blocks on face 24 when flap 34 is folded to overlay the front side of the envelope. The underface 40 of the flap is thus provided with suitable duplicating means, such as carbon paper, so that everything written on the face 38 of the flap is simultaneously transcribed on the front face of the pocket.
When the envelope 20 with blocks 28 and 42, 29 and 43 filled with the necessary information arrives at the pharmacy, the pharmacist checks for accuracy and if so, initials the envelope at the indicated location (block 44). The pharmacist then removed the detachable flap 34, numbers it and files it in his permanent prescription file. If the envelope is not prenumbered, he numbers it.
In order to fill a prescription, the pharmacist proceeds to a rack of dispensers of the type having a num ber of side-by-side pockets each containing a medication-strip of the type having a plurality of package compartments formed therein. Such a dispenser is shown in FIG. 4 and referred generally by numeral 46. Dispenser 46 comprises a base 48 having fixed thereon a plurality of laterally spaced vertical partitions 50 which subdivide the interior of the dispenser into a plurality of strip-containing chambers 51. A rectangular shaped transparent face 54 extends over the front edge 52 of each partition 50 and has a bottom edge 56 distant from base 48 so as to leave between each partition an opening 58. Referring to FIG. 6, the dispenser 46 is adapted to pivot in a rack 55, shown in broken lines, to receive one or more box-like containers or cartons 56 enclosing a medication-strip 66. The carton may slide into the dispenser between two partitions 50 or the strip may first be removed from the carton and then inserted in the chambers 51. If carton 56 is inserted between the partitions, the front edge or panel 59 thereof can be seen through the transparent wall 54 of the dispenser; it then serves as a label for the identification of the medication inside the carton. The lower portion of the panel is made detachable from the carton for the release of the package compartments of the strip through the opening 58. In cases where the medicationstrip is removed from the carton before being inserted between the partitions, the carton is constructed to render detachable the front edge 59 which is then inserted against the inside face of the transparent wall 54', appropriate guideways (not shown) may be provided on the partitions or the inside surface of the transparent face for the insertion and the holding of the panels 59 against the transparent wall. The rear edge 60 (see FIG. 5) of the carton could also be made detachable to display the same labelling but in another language. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, the lower extremity of the front edge 59 extends below the edge 56 of wall 54 and thereby forms a flap 62 which controls the release of packages from the dispenser and which also serves to facilitate the counting of the packages as they are pulled out.
Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, the strip 66 consists of a flexible package comprising a medication containing portion 68 and a detachable tail portion 70 having no compartments. Portion 68 is formed of two layers 72 and 74 of flexible packaging material and sealed together along the longitudinal edges thereof and transversely at spaced internals to form between the layers a plurality of medication-containing compartments 76, represented by protuberances 77 in FIGS. 7 and 8. These compartments are divided transversely by tear lines 78, such as perforations to facilitate severing of individual package from the strip 66. The detachable tail portion 70 extends along one longitudinal edge of the medication-containing portion 68. The tail portion of each package is defined by transverse tear lines 80, extending in the prolongation of the transverse tear lines 78 of the medication-containing portion 68, and by a longitudinal tear line 82 extending between portions 68 and 70. These lines are weakened such as by scoring. Tear lines 78, 80 and 82 enable individual packages to be torn from the strip and the tail portion 70 to be torn from each package. The packages are consecutively numbered and each tail portion of each package carries indicia identifying the name of the product in plain descriptive language; this identification is cross-referenced to a code number which is stamped directly on the rear of portion 68 which contains the tablet or capsule 84; this is to prevent recognition of the medication by the patient.
As the pharmacist fills a prescription, he tears off the desired number of packages from the body of the strip, inserts them in the pocket of the envelope, returns the envelope to the ward for further processing by the medication nurse. The nurse clips on the time code 33 printed at the top of the envelope 22 the transparent markers 88, shown in FIGS. 10 and 10a,to indicate the hours at which the medication is to be administered to the patient.
The medication nurse then files the envelope in a storage box (see FIG. 9) according to room and bed number. At a given delivery period, the medication nurse takes the storage box 90 for the ward to be served and places it on a cart 92 (see FIG. 11). The alignment of the transparent markers for that particular hour indicates which envelopes are to be scheduled for delivery.
The person responsible can select immediately the ones which have to be administered at a particular hour. The person then proceeds, by room order, to the patient, identifies each patient, checks the medication against the original written order appearing on face 24 of the envelope, identifies the medication by means of the detachable tail portion 70, tears open the pocket and administers the medication. The torn tail portion 70 is adhesively secured on the printed form 32 appearing on face 24 of the envelope; to achieve this, the front face of the envelope may be provided with detachable selfstick segments which, when removed from block 32, leave an adhesive residue to permit affixing of the tail portion 70 of the medication-strip. The nurse indicates the time at which the medication was administered to the patient and initials at the appropriate location.
Although the invention has been described above in relation to specific forms of the invention, persons skilled in the art will be aware that it may be refined and modified in various ways. For example, the present invention is not limited to oral medication dispensing; pouches containing ointments, powders and liquids may be processed in accordance with the present invention, and ampoules and vials of injectable materials for parenteral use may be strip-sealed. It is therefore wished to have it understood that the present invention is not limited in interpretation except by the terms of the following claims.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
l. A package strip comprising:
an elongate body including a medication-containing portion formed of two layers of flexible material, said medication-containing portion being sealed along the longitudinal edges thereof and transversely at spaced intervals to form between said layers a plurality of medication enclosing compartments, said compartments being divided longitudinally by transverse tear lines for severing one or more individual packages from the body;
said body further including a detachable indicia bearing, continuously flat tail portion disposed outside said sealed medicationcontaining portion and extending along one of said longitudinal edges of said medication-containing portion, said flat tail portion having a series of longitudinally spaced transverse lines extending in the prolongation of the transverse tear lines of the medication enclosing compartments and a longitudinally extending tear line dividing said flat tail portion from said sealed medication-containing portion to thereby form a detachable tear-off section for each of said individual packages.
2. A package strip as defined in claim 1 wherein the indicia is representative of medication adapted to be enclosed in the associated compartment.
3. A package strip as defined in claim 2 wherein said tear lines are scored for easy tearing of the individual packages and their tear-off sections.
4. A package strip as defined in claim 3 wherein said compartments are consecutively numbered.