Delivering the correct medicine to healthcare patients – the holes in the checks

administering medicine

Drugs and medicines administered to patients in hospitals, care homes and psychiatric wards need to be done according to the instructions issued by the doctor or consultant in charge of the patient. These medicines are issued by the nurse(s) in charge and there is a heavy reliance and trust based on them to dispense the correct drug(s) and in the correct dosage, according to the instructions given. Situations can arise where the wrong medicine is administration, the medicine is given in the wrong dosage (either too little or too much), the medicine is given at the wrong time (either earlier or later than the scheduled time) or it is missed completely. These situations can be for any reason, including unusually busy times on the ward, changes in shift or simply because of general complacency or lack of knowledge of the nurse. These inconsistencies in receiving medicine(s) can be extremely harmful to the patient, especially if they are children, elderly or in intensive care units. When a medicine is administered, it is simply recorded on the patients chart (usually attached to the patient’s bed) with the time of administering and the signature of nurse. The time put down is not necessarily correct.

A biometrics solution, such as palm vein can help to eliminate the inconsistencies with administering medicines to patients, ensuring that patients receive the medicine that they need at the right time. Using a palm scanner, a nurse can ‘check-in’ at a patient’s bedside. This can then be recorded as the time at which the medicine(s) were given to the patient. The palm vein technology will detect whether the nurse who has ‘checked-in’ has the authority to give this patient his medicine. If the scanner has recorded a reading of another non-authorised nurse, this will be flagged up immediately. On successfully checking-in, a nurse is able to see a list of the medicine(s), the times at which they should be administered and the correct dosage that should be given to the patient. If the palm vein reading is false, i.e. is a reading of a person that is not authorised or does not exist in the database, details of the medication, including dosages will not be revealed. This method of administrating medicine makes it virtually impossible for the nurse to make any accidental errors or for unauthorised persons to have access to the patient’s records. Alerts are triggered in the solution to alert the nurse’s station if the time is approaching for the next dose to be given to the patient or if the next dose has been missed. Nurses are able to them immediately correct the oversight.

The palm vein technology is a highly secure and contactless biometric solution that works by reading the vascular pattern of the palm. These patterns are unique to each individual and exists underneath the skin layer so they cannot be forged thereby making it more secure than any other biometric device. Being contactless and technologically advanced, it is extremely appropriate for places like hospitals, care homes and psychiatric wards where security and hygiene cannot be compromised.

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