The final link in the medication chain from hospital pharmacy to patient is the riskiest one. MedEye helps nurses administer all types of medicine more safely and accurately. The system also facilitates the proper handling of medication that requires a second check.
“Medication verification at the patient’s bed is necessary to ensure that the right medicine is being administered in the right dose at the right time and via the right route to the right patient. The use of automated pre-packaged medicines, barcodes and checklists are helpful, but not sufficient for preventing all possible errors in all pharmaceutical groups, including incorrect deliveries and wrongly dosed medication,” says Gauti Reynisson, CEO and co-founder of Mint Solutions. Since 2000, this company has been developing a system to prevent the risk of improper medication administration.
The computer never tires
According to Reynisson, a computer is the right tool for accurate medication verification. That’s because it never gets bored with routine tasks, does not skip essential steps and cannot be distracted. Yet, he claims, the systems used in many hospitals do not work well enough. “Nurses need to carefully read all information at the patient’s bed and deal with manual, digital administration work. This increases the risk of errors and does not sufficiently guarantee patient safety.”
While studying in the United States, Reynisson learned about image recognition technology, which is also used in self-driving cars. This inspired him to apply this digital technology to medication verification. To make this possible, Reynisson and his classmate Ivar Helgason established Mint Solutions in 2010. Six years later, MedEye, the first medication scanner, was put into use at a Dutch hospital. The number of users has grown steadily ever since. Around ten percent of hospitals in the Netherlands currently work with the system, international interest is growing and nursing homes have also shown an interest.
Medication scanner on the medicine cart
Reynisson describes MedEye as a tool that helps nurses with the logistical and clinical process. “A single step that links up with the existing procedures enables the system to verify all medicine intended for the individual patient. A small scanner on the medicine cart is sufficient to physically check the tablets and capsules at the patient’s bedside. The scanner compares the shape, colour, markings, diameter and thickness with the information in the medication database. The system is also linked to the hospital information system in order to verify that the administration corresponds to the doctor’s instructions.”
MedEye can also facilitate the proper handling of medication that requires a second check, i.e. ‘high risk medication’ such as injections, infusions and insulin. Medication packaged by the distribution system for medication (GDS) can also be verified safely and efficiently at the patient’s bed. If changes have occurred and the contents of the medication pouch are no longer correct, the nurse can check this with the medication scanner and make the necessary changes. The packaging does not need to be sent back to the pharmacy first.
Reynisson is keen to point out that the use of a sophisticated system alone is not enough to prevent all errors in the medication administration process. “All processes, including medication preparation, must be in proper order. That is why we devote special attention to this before implementing MedEye.”