US 3826222 A
A system for handling and dispensing pre-packaged unit doses of medicine for a large number of patients. It includes a dispensing container which is packed by the pharmacist with unit dose packs and from which the individual doses are administered to the patients, for example, by a nurse. The dispensing container has printed on its exterior, indicia, including coded sections, to indicate various times and other conditions of administering the unit doses. A label printed with corresponding indicia is provided for superimposing on the printed area of the container. By selective punching, or otherwise, of the label, before mounting on the container, the said coded section or sections on the container is exposed when it is so mounted. The exposed coded section or sections will be readily visible to the nurse to indicate the time or conditions of administering the dose or doses to a patient.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Romick Y  UNIT-DOSE MEDICATION HANDLING SYSTEM i lnventori Filed:
Appl. No.: 331,677
.lerome'M. Romick, 1992 Commons Rd., North, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068 Feb. 12, 1973 Int. Cl. G091 9/00  Field of Search....... 116/114 R, 121; 235/89 R; 221/2; 206/42; 312/234, 234.1, 234.2, 234.3,
. References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS [451 'July 30, 1974 3,719,801 3/1973 Drexler.... 35/17 3,744,867 7/1973 Shaw ..116/121 Primary ExaminerLouis .l. .Capozi Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Mahoney, Miller & Stebens 57 ABSTRACT A system for handling and dispensing pre-packaged unit doses of medicine for a large number of patients. It includes a dispensing container which is packed by the pharmacist with unit dose packs and from which the individual doses are administered to the patients, for example, by a nurse. The dispensing container has printed on its exterior, indicia, including coded sections, to indicate various times and other conditions of administering the unit doses. A label printed with cor responding indicia is provided for superimposing on the printed area of the container. By selective punching, or otherwise, of the label, before mounting on the container, the said coded section or sections on the container is exposed when'it is so mounted. The ex-- posed coded section or sections will be readily visible to the nurse to indicate the time or conditions of administering the dose or doses to a patient.
12 C1aims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENlwJvw 01024 SHEET 10F 2 JOHN DOE ASPIRIN BLOW CHLO RAL HYDMTE J\M DOAK ASA "56R.
V TAMIN FIG.4
DATE 23a A M N O PR! 3 DIRECTIONS O J p M 31a 26a 22a 'FIGSN UNIT-DOSE MEDICATION HANDLING SYSTEM tion error, minimizing medication waste, greater pharmacy control in dispensing and greater nursing control in administering. The medication handling system of this invention provides great improvements in regard to all of these phases.
According tothe system of this invention, the medicationis prepared as unit doses in small packs which are packed by the pharmacist in a dispensing container, preferably in the form of a box, for an individual patient in accordance with instructions from a doctor. The box, preferably at one end and by printing, carries certain indicia including coded sections, preferably in the formof color-coded areas, which indicate various conditions of administering the unit doses especially as to time. A label is provided for adherenceto the coded end of the box and has code-selecting areas thereon,
tient, room number, directions, etc. By properly punching the label in the code-selectingareas, corresponding to the color-coded areas of the box end, when the label is adhered to the box end, certain selected color codes will be exposed. These exposed-color codes will quickly indicate visually to the nurse the time for administering to the patient the successive doses from the individual patients box or other factors which should be called to the attention of the nurse. g
The best mode contemplated in carrying out this invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which! FIG. 1 is a front elevational view showing several trays for'individual patients having several dispensing containers or boxes disposed in each with coded timeindicating sections exposed for visual checking by a nurse.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partly cut away, of the dispensing box packed with the individual dose packs.
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a strip of printed labels, each of which when detached is to be applied to a box of the type shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is an enlargement of the coded end of the box of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of one of the labels removed from the strip of FIG. 3. l
FIG. 6 is a transversesectional view taken on line 6-6 through the label of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the punched label applied to the code end of the dispensing box.
FIG; 8 is a plan view of a reordering signal strip used in the packed box of FIG. 2.
FIG. 9 is a similar view showing the outer lamination of the label being removed to expose the inner layer which still adheres to the box.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of an order sheet to which the removed outer laminations of the labels may be attached.
With reference to the drawings and especially to FIG.
1, each patient is provided with an individual medicationpassing tray 15. In this Figure, there is shown only three trays but usually there will be many more. The trays may be removably mounted on shelvesin a ,mobile rack (not shown) which may be wheeled to the rooms of various patients. Each tray is preferably sepa rated by dividers 16into outwardly-opening separate pockets or compartments for receiving the respective unit-dose packing and dispensing boxes 20 of this invention. The. boxes can'be slipped readily in and out of the tray pockets. The trays 15 may take any desired specific form and may be made of any suitable material.
The boxes 20 may be of cardboard and are preferably of elongated rectangular form, being of considerable depth. They are adapted to receive the unit-dose packs 25 which may take various forms but, in the example shown, consist of a series of unit-dose packing sections 25a joined at readily'separable tabs 27 to provide a strip extending the full length of the box. The strip packs 25 are superimposed in the box in several layers, the unit-dose sections of which can be removed successively. The unit-doses may be in other forms such as separate vials, capsules, envelopes, etc. Each box 20 preferably has one or more closure flaps 20a at its top side which can be removed by tearing along the indicated dotted lines. When the box is packed by the pharmacist, the flaps are closed and later are opened and removed by the nurse so that the upper side of the box is completely open to expose the unit doses.
One or. both ends of the box 20a provided with printed indicia including the coding sections previously mentioned. For example, the end may have printed thereon, along one side edge, a main vertical column of coding 22 which may consist of areas of different colors indicating A.M., Noon, P.M., and H S (bed time). Another vertical column may be printed at the other edge and consist of-two areas of still different colors indicating other times or specific requirements of administering doses. An upper blank space 24 may be provided for the name of the patient and a lower blank space 26 may be provided for the name of the medicine.
A strip of labels 30, or separate labels may be provided, the labels preferably being of the pressuresensitive adhesive type so that they can be adhered to the coded ends of the respective boxes. If in strip form as shown in FIG. 3, they preferably will be separable along the preforated lines. Each label 30 is shown en- Iarged in FIG. 5 adjacent the coded end of the box with which it may cooperate, which is shown on a similar scale for ready comparison. Each label is printed with a vertical column 22a of code-selecting blank areas 22a corresponding to the color-coded areas 22 of the box end, a vertical column 23a of code-selecting blank areas corresponding to the color-coded areas 23 of the box end, a patients name blank space 24a corresponding to space 24 on the box end, and a medicine name blank space 26a corresponding to space 26 on the box end. The label 30 may have an extension 31 with blank spaces for typing in additional data, such as prescription number, room number, directions, etc.
The label 30 will have pressure-sensitive adhesive on its backface so it can be adhered to the end of the box when it is superimposed thereon so that the label areas 22a, 23a, 24a and 26a, exactly coincide with the box end areas 22, 23, 24 and 26 directly therebeneath. The
end extension 31 will be wrapped around the side of the box and be adhered thereto. However, before the label is applied to the endof the box a selected one or more of the areas 22a is punched as indicated by the punched opening 35 in FIGS. 7 and 9. The reason for this punching will be described in, detail later.
The label 30, as indicated by the sectional view of FIG. 6, consists of two laminations adhered together by pressuresensitive adhesive and carrying such adhesive on the rear face, the outer lamination 30a and the inner lamination 30b, the outer lamination being separable from the inner by readily peeling it therefrom. The outer face of the inner lamination 30b'is printed exactly the same as the outer face of the outer lamination, the corresponding areas being indicated with the same numbers but having the suffix b. The double label is such that anything typed on the outer lamination is duplicated on the inner lamination;
A reorder reminderstrip 25a may be provided as indicated in FIG. 8 and will usually be positioned in the packed box 20 over the lowermost unit dose pack 25 as shown in FIG. 2. An order sheet 40 may also be provided, as shown in FIG. 10, and will have spaces 30c upon which the peeled label laminations 30a may be mounted, one of them being shown adhered to the sheet in one of the receiving spaces.
In the use of this system, a physician s order for a certain medication for a particular patient is received and is packed as unit doses in the dispensing box 20. The label 30 is then prepared with all the required information typed thereon. As previously explained, the format of the label corresponds precisely with the format of the coding on the end of the box. The pharmacist punches the label before it is applied to the end of the box to expose one or more coded areas depending on what should be signalled to the nurse when dispensing the doses. The combined use of the coded box end and the label results in a unit-dose prescription color-keyed according to the dosage frequency, or other requirements, for administering the medication. This is effected by (l the pharmacist punching out on the label 30 the appropriate positions designatingthe times of administering that particular medication to the individual patient, (2) the pharmacist then placing the pressure-sensitive label directly over the corresponding format-on the box end, thereby allowing the colors to appear only at the punched out holes, providing the colorkeyed directions for administering the medication. The packing and dispensing box or boxes is now ready for delivery to the nursing facility.
When the boxes 20 for the medication are received at the nursing station, the closure flaps 20a are torn therefrom to completely open the upper end of the box. Then all of the boxes for a particular patient are inserted in one of the trays 15 which will then be disposed on a selected shelf of the mobile cart with the coded punched ends of the boxes exposed to view by the nurse. When placed in the trays, the program of administering the unit doses to a particular patient is automatically established, because the color coding for each dosage automatically positions itself. The information provided by the coding is visually signalled to the nurse in a glance since the color coding 'for indicating time and conditions of dosage is exposed at the punched openings 35. Not only is the color readily visible to the nurse at a glance but is further made apparent by the standard vertical positioning of each color.
For'example, all the AM. doses color codings of all the boxes of a particular patients tray would be along the same upper horizontal line, etc. Thus, not only color but position is a signalling factor.
When the doses are removed from a particular box until the reorder slip a is exposed, the outer label lamination a is peeled from the inner lamination 30b as shown in FIG. 9. All the data on the outer label will also appear on the inner label 30b. The label 30a is then mounted onthe reorder sheet of FIG. I0. This will give the pharmacist all the information he needs to pack a new box 20 with the proper supply of unit-dose packs 25.
It will be apparent from the above that the unit-dose medication handling system of this invention assures time-savings, accuracy, ease and less waste in dispensing medicine. The system actually programs itself and perpetuates itself without relying on a constant communication flow between nursing staff and pharmacy staff to keep the system updated and accurate. All of the dispensing controls remain with the pharmacist and the administering controls remain with the nurse.
The system of this invention comprises a package assembly which includes the dispensing container or box in which the unitdoses are provided for dispensing, the box having coded sections on its exterior surface in the form of coloror other coding; and a cooperating label applied to the surface of the box and having codeselecting areas coinciding with the coded sections which can be punched or otherwise treated to provide openings which will expose the selected underlying coding sections.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed l. A dispensing package assembly for dispensing unitdoses of medicine, comprising a dispensing container in which a supply of the doses is contained to be accessible for dispensing, coded sections on the exterior surface of the container to indicate certain information useful in dispensing the doses, and a label applied to the exterior of the container and having codeselecting areas coinciding with the coded sections thereof which have an opening or openings selectively formed therein to expose the coded sections on the container.
2. A dispensing package assembly according to claim 1 in which the coded sections are in the form of colored areas of various colors and the code-selecting areas on the label are corresponding areas which can be punched to provide the selected opening or openings to expose selected color coding.
3. A dispensing package assembly according to claim 2 in which the label is adhered to the container and consists of two substantially identical laminations, the outer one of which is removable to expose the inner one which still adheres to the container.
4. In combination with the package assembly of claim 3, a re-order sheet having blank areas to which the removed label lamination is adhered.
5. A dispensing package assembly-according to claim 2 in which the container is in the form of a box having an end exterior surface on which the label is disposed, and a tray for receiving a plurality of the boxes side-byside with their labelbearing ends exposed and so that the punched openings of each are readily visible.
6. A dispensing package assembly according to claim 5 in which the color-coded areas on the respective box ends and the code-selecting areas of the labels are arranged in one or more vertical columns so that the vertical position of any punched opening in the label is also apparent. i g
7. The method of handling and dispensing'unit-doses of medication which comprises placing the unit-doses in a dispensing container where they are readily accessible and which has coded sections on the exterior surface to indicate certain information useful in dispensing the doses, and applying a label to the exterior of the V the label are punched to expose the selected area or arcontainer which has coded-selecting areas coinciding with the coded sections-of the container but before applying the label forming in the code-selecting areas an opening or openings selectively formed therein to exeas.
9. The method of claim 8 in which the label consists of substantially duplicate laminations and the outer layer is peeled off when re-ordering the unit-doses.
10. The method of claim 9 including placing the peeledoff label lamination on a receiving space of a reorder sheet.
ll. The method of claim 8 in which the coded sections are vertically disposed and the containers are supported in horizontal rows with the punched labels visible so that the relative positions of the respective punches can be observed.
12. The method of claim 11 in which each patient is provided with a tray which supports a plurality of the containers with their labels visible.