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War Veterans to Participate in a Study for Automated Medication Delivery System

Posted Sep 14 2009 10:21pm

The study is an attempt to find better ways to help patients take their medications.  This is an issue even outside the military and in 2 locations the image automated EMMA system will be put into place.  The system reminds with both the screen an an audible tone when medications are due to be taken. 

They have a couple different drop box models.  The patient uses a touch screen to access the system.  Once the screen has been touched in the appropriate areas, the pills are released in the drop box.  It has wireless capabilities too and keeps an inventory of the pills that are loaded in the device.  After receiving the pills, the patient again touches the screen to send the notice back that they have received their dosage of medication.

The pills are loaded in blister cards and several medications can be loaded.  As almost every device today, there is software that has a a complete report not only of inventory, but all activity.   It appears that with the level of medications taken today, some type of electronic management system is needed to help us manage all of this.  One unit is designed to handle the delivery of pain medication and shows when and what dosage is available.  The system has been approved by the FDA.  Now if they can just mold this into “Rosie the Robot” it could be perfect with Rosie also dispensing as well as reminding us.  BD 

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From the website:

The EMMA ® system consists of a Medication Delivery Unit (MDU) and wireless two-way web-based communications software that allows a physician,pharmacist or other licensed practitioner to remotely manage prescriptions stored and released by the patient-operated MDU.
The patient’s prescriptions and refills are packaged in standard-sized blister cards which are dispensed to the patient in place of an amber bottle filled with pills. Each MDU can hold up to ten (10) blister cards (multiple blister cards may be connected together) that are loaded into the MDU much like CD’s are loaded into a car or home stereo. The MDU identifies each medication automatically – no patient input is required. Changes made to the dosing instructions are transmitted to the MDU – no home nursing visit or physician phone instructions are needed.

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When it is time for the patient to take their medications, the MDU emits an audible and visual alert to the patient. When activated by the patient, the medications are selected from the blister cards and released into the delivery tray.

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A robotic device that dispenses the proper dose of oral prescription medications to soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and other conditions requiring risky medications is under study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research and Milwaukee's Columbia College of Nursing. 

"The military has an increasing number of patients with combat-related injuries that may not allow them to strictly adhere to their medication regimens," said Daniel Touchette, UIC assistant professor of pharmacy practice, who serves as co-principal investigator on the project along with Jill Winters, professor and dean of Columbia College of Nursing. Some, he said, "are in transitional-care outpatient settings that do not have nurses or pharmacists to manage their medications daily."

The study involves the use of an electronic medication management assistant, or EMMA delivery unit, designed to remotely deliver, manage and monitor a patient's drug therapy and adherence in the outpatient setting under the guidance of a physician, nurse case manager and pharmacist.  The study will be undertaken initially at the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital in California and the James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital and Polytrauma Facility in Tampa, Fla. The program may expand to include additional Department of Defense or VA sites.

Electronic Pharmacy May Protect War Veterans from Medication Errors

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