Keeping Up with the Latest Technology in Order to Increase Patient Safety

Medical technology has come a long way in recent years. When people talk about that fact they tend to concentrate on novel medications. But it’s just as important to consider just how medications are administered.

These musings usually revolve around direct experience. For most people this limits the discussion to public pharmacies. They might go in looking for over the counter painkillers, sleeping pills or similar low potency medications. But the way this happens isn’t that dissimilar to a larger hospital pharmacy. The back of an over the counter medication’s box usually provides some standard directions on how to use it. One will get directed on how many times a day to take a pill. And this, in turn, is based on the milligrams or grams of mediation contained within a pill.

This is the main point where things begin to differ in home and hospital use. When one is taking a medication at home than the dose is predetermined by capsules or tablets. If a dose is 10 mg, for example, then pills come in a way that makes such calculations trivial. Each pill might be 5 mg, 10 mg or something similar. The main point is that the divisions have already been taken care of at a manufacturing plant.

Things become a lot more difficult within hospital pharmacies. Patients are often unable to take oral medications. And even if they are capable of doing so many of the medications aren’t orally active. This means that many mediations need to be directly injected into a patient’s circulatory system. And the process is quite a bit more complicated than many people might imagine.

Dosage is one of the more difficult aspects of providing IV therapy based treatments. One of the most complex factors simply comes from balancing all the data points. IV treatments include volume of liquid, milligrams or grams of active medication, expiration dates and general solubility. But on top of all that one must also determine the general rate in which it’s introduced into a patient’s system.

It’s not at all easy to balance all of these factors. But mechanical devices can offer some unexpected help. For example, a Smart IV Pump can automatically determine flow rate depending on the substance involved.

What’s really surprising is a general lack of uniform adoption of these pumps in hospital settings. The reason usually comes down to perceived cost. Even the simpler medical devices usually come with rather significant prices. It takes a great deal of money to test medical products to the point where people can trust them for widespread use.

But once implemented within a hospital it’s usually easy to see where the real savings come in. The chance for medication distribution errors go down immensely. And this is significant for a number of different reasons.

In short, the cost of global upgrade cycles within a hospital can be quite high. The general state of healthcare costs reflect those realities. But over time it saves lives. And saving lives and health turns into overall savings for a hospital.

About the Author: Suzana Mikolova