How do medical computers support the creation of a safer medication dispensing system?

Every year, multiple patients experience adverse effects from incorrectly prescribed medication. This can not only cause serious effects (or even death) to the patient, but also lead to dissatisfaction, re-admissions and wasted resources, which in turn put financial pressure on healthcare facilities. 

How can we begin to address this problem? How do we create a medication dispensing system that can combat these variables that put patients at risk? Most importantly, if we want to create a medication dispensing system that works, how do we know we're using the right medical systems and computers? 

What is medication dispensation?

Medication dispensing is the practice of preparing, prescribing and dispensing medication to patients within a healthcare facility. The idea behind the synergy between the pharmacy and the clinical environment is that dispensing medication at the bedside allows healthcare professionals to detect problems that may exist and prevent or treat them before they have a chance to grow. 

However, medication dispensing systems are not always error-free. 

What are the most common errors in medication dispensing systems? 

A study published by the National Library of Medicine looked at cases of medication dispensing errors from the 1990s to the present day, and found that there are 2 main categories of errors:

Category 1:

Mistakes that may have resulted from a wrong prescription for the diagnosis or an error in assessing the potential harm that a particular medication may cause the patient (allergies, for example)

Category 2:

Errors in writing, communicating or transcribing the prescription. 

How do medical computers create medication dispensing systems that can solve these problems?

As hardware distributors, we understand that these problems in dispensing medication vary from healthcare facility to healthcare facility. So we always try to address this variability with solutions that can be customized to include peripherals and mounting solutions tailored to each specific need. 

Some of these needs are 

1. VESA mounting - provides the opportunity to dispense medication at the bedside 

VESA-compatible medical computers allow them to be mounted not only in cars, for mobile solutions, but also inside wards. This means that healthcare professionals can always have a computer at their disposal close to the patient when there is a need for a drug prescription.

Having a computer set up at the bedside also allows communication with the patient while the medication is being prescribed. This means that healthcare professionals can confirm medication with patients to find any discrepancies or detect any allergies that have not been mentioned before. 

2. Patient scanning - reduces or eliminates the possibility of human error

Mobile carts with computers that are customized to include an RFID and barcode scanner allow doctors to make the scan crucial information for clinical record systems, information that is essential for eliminating incorrectly prescribed medication.  

A wristband with the patient's barcode, which includes identifying information, can be passed through the scanner to confirm who is being treated, the diagnosis, what allergies the patient has or what medications have given them adverse reactions in the past. All this data is available to the healthcare professional with a simple swipe of an RFID tag. 

Be able to keep the clinical record system up to date through the scanning can go a long way towards eliminating the communication errors that exist in medication dispensing systems. 

3. Medication scan - which promotes inventory and dosage management 

Addressing category 1 (prescription failure problems), barcode scanners that can be included in computers allow pharmacists to keep track of drug stock and available doses.

If a patient needs a certain medicine urgently, the healthcare professional needs to know as soon as possible whether the necessary doses are available in the unit. 

Scanning the doses as they are delivered and administered to the patient gives all professionals with access to a medical workstation a panoramic view of what is available to be prescribed. 

If the medicine they need is not available, they can quickly change their treatment plan to adapt until the appropriate resources are back in stock. 

4. Large screens that support the clinical record system

Despite all the advantages that a medical record system provides, it can also have disadvantages. 

Most of the time, medical records software are extremely complex panels of information with several different tabs for a single patient. 

It is well documented that these dashboards, full of information, regularly cause miscommunication between staff, which can lead to crucial information being lost or incorrect fields being filled in with the wrong data.

To combat this, 4K medical monitors and computers are built with high definition and feature a screen size that allows healthcare professionals to have several panels and tabs open at the same time. 

Without the worry of scrolling and losing important information, medical staff can get a comprehensive view of a patient's medical history and allergies, and improve their decision-making when dispensing medication. 

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