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Could wireless technology help reduce medication errors?

The right medication in the right dosage can make all of the difference. It can eradicate a dangerous illness. It can take away the incredible pain that could follow a major surgery. It can even help a New Orleans resident manage what could be a debilitating disorder.

Of course, the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the right medication could cause permanent damage to our health. Harm suffered as a result of drug errors is often even the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Imagine being able to avoid these types of medication errors.

Researchers with Virginia Tech say that day isn’t that far off as wireless technology improves. If hospitals take the opportunity to utilize the benefit of this technology, researchers say it could dramatically improve patient care.

Let’s use medication errors as an example. Machines are used to dispense medication to patients in hospitals, but nurses still have to record the information manually. What if the information could be logged automatically? Researchers have found a way to use wireless technology to record every instance in which a medicine bottle is opened and the exact amount of medication that has been removed.

Not only could information concerning dispersing the medication be recorded wirelessly, but doctors, nurses and other caretakers could also receive an alert on their mobile phones when there is a medication error, like an overdose.

That is only the beginning, say researchers. Wireless technology could also help track doctors by their identification badges. It can be used to store medical information using cloud services and even allow for airflow direction in a hospital to be immediately and remotely adjusted where the spread of a pathogen is a danger.

Source: Medical Press, “Reducing medical errors with wireless technologies,” Kelly Kaiser, Feb. 25, 2014

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