Invented by Thomas J. Larkner, David A. Ferrer, Jesse M. Smith, Dennis H. Smith, Adam A. Cloud, Mark D. Lockwood, Mark G. Loeffelholz, James R. Edwards, Helmer Scientific LLC
The Helmer Scientific LLC invention works as followsThe invention relates to an apparatus and method of storing pharmaceuticals and medical products, such as medical and pharmaceutical products in climate-controlled storage devices. This includes climate control systems that are in communication with inventory tracking and access systems.
Background for Medical products storage device with access control
The present disclosure relates to access control for medical storage devices. The present disclosure relates to medical storage systems that integrate inventory tracking and access controls.
Medical supplies, such as pharmaceuticals or blood products, are commodities of high value that require strict quality and inventory controls. Medical products, such as medications, tissues and blood products, like whole blood, platelets or plasma, are limited and require strict quality control to maintain their quality. It is sometimes important to keep the environment where these products are kept within certain parameters. Temperature, humidity and/or ultraviolet light exposure can all be controlled and monitored.
Another requirement of quality control is to limit access to medical products to those who are authorized to use them. Items stored in a storage facility or with a particular individual can be pre-matched. Access to storage locations can be restricted based on authorization levels. Access control can also be used to prevent materials being taken unexpectedly. It may even form part of a management and inventory system.
In an emergency, it may be necessary to ensure that medical products are accessible in the event of a power failure or equipment failure. A loss of power will usually result in a loss of temperature control. When storing specific products such as blood, it is important to move the product quickly before the conditions of storage become unacceptable. When large quantities of medical products are being stored in one climate control device it is important to quickly identify the location of the inventory needed. This will help users be more productive and reduce the amount of time they spend searching for the appropriate inventory.
The present application discloses, either alone or in combination, one or more features listed in the appended claim and/or features such as the following, which may constitute patentable subject matter.
According to a first aspect, the storage device for medical devices comprises a control assembly, a cabinet with a number of storage containers and an actuator assembly. The cabinet contains a number of storage spaces. Each storage container is assigned to a specific storage space. The actuation unit includes an array actuators. Each actuator of the array is assigned to a storage container. Each actuator can be independently operated to release or secure the storage container associated with the actuator.
In some embodiments, the storage space has an arm that can be moved between a position where the arm secures the storage container in question and a position where the arm releases it. In some embodiments, each storage space includes an arm that can be moved between a first position in which the arm secures a respective storage box and a second position in which the arm releases the particular storage box.
In some embodiments, the actuator can be used to move the arm from the first position to the second. The arm may include a push bar that acts on the respective container when the arm moves to the second position. This causes the container to move in the space so that a portion extends from the space.
In some embodiments, a storage device may also include a detector for detecting the position of an arm.
In some embodiments, the sensor may be associated with each actuator. The sensor will detect the position of the arm next to the actuator. In some embodiments the sensor is a distance sensor. In certain embodiments, the optical sensor is used. In certain embodiments, the sensor can be positioned and moved with the actuation unit. In some embodiments the arm can be pivotable between the first position and the second. Each actuator in some embodiments is a solenoid-actuated plunger which engages the respective arm when the solenoid becomes energized, thereby moving the arm between the second and first positions.
In some embodiments, a control system will compare the state of the solenoid with the signal from the sensor to determine whether the arm is correctly positioned. In some embodiments the control system will identify an error when the state of solenoid and signal from detector are not in proper correspondence.
In some embodiments, the release mechanism is operated by each arm to move the plurality to the second position. In certain embodiments, the mechanism can be operated manually. In some embodiments the release device includes a security mechanism to prevent it from being activated. In some embodiments the security device can only be moved by a key.
In some embodiments, a mechanical element is also included in the release mechanism that moves into an indicator position after the release device is actuated. In some embodiments the mechanical structure doesn’t return from the position of the indicator when the release device returns to allow the arms to go back to their first positions.
In some embodiments, a resetting actuator is included in the storage device. This actuator can be operated by the control system to move the mechanical structures from the indicator to the first position of the arms after the release device was moved. In some embodiments the release device locks automatically when it is returned to its home position.
In some embodiments, the system for controlling the storage device also includes a climate control unit that can monitor and regulate the temperature in the cabinet.
In some embodiments, a storage device also includes a positioning system in communication with the controller, in which the positioning system moves the actuation system under the control of that system so that each actuator is next to a respective storage container in a position in the first and in the second, respectively. In some embodiments the storage device comprises at least one sensor for detecting position of actuation assemblies, with the detector being mounted on the actuation assemblies. In some embodiments, a detector for detecting position of actuation assemblies determines position by detecting characteristics of a fixed part adjacent to the actuation. In some embodiments the detector includes a plurality sensors, with each sensor generating a signal in response to a characteristic associated with a fixed component adjacent to the actuation assemblies. The control system determines the position of actuation by comparing signals from the sensors to an arrangement of known fixed components.
In some embodiments, a storage device comprises a further indicator assembly that can be used to indicate to an user the location of the storage container after it has been removed. In some embodiments the indicator assembly comprises a light-emitting component which is capable of providing the indication. In certain embodiments, a light emitting element illuminates at lease a portion the of the container which has been opened. In certain embodiments, the container includes a material that conducts light. In some embodiments the light emitting element is located adjacent to the storage container which has been released. The control system can cause the light emitting element to be illuminated intermittently in some embodiments.
In certain embodiments, each space for storage is defined by an enclosure including a floor and ceiling. The storage device includes stop that extends out of the floor, and engages bottom hooks formed on the bottom of the storage container, when the container is engaged to the floor, and is slid across the floor, from a stored position to a removed position. In some embodiments the stop that extends from the storage space floor extends vertically up from the ground into the storage area. In some embodiments the stop is integrally molded into the floor. The stop that extends from the floor is removable in some embodiments.
In some embodiments, there is a front and back portion of the storage container, as well as opposing lateral side walls, and a bottom. The storage container can be positioned in a space so that the back section is adjacent to the arm. In some embodiments the hook formed at the bottom of the container is closer to the rear portion than the forward portion.
In some embodiments, a storage container’s bottom is designed so that the storage containers near the front and back portions are able to engage with the floor in the storage area. A portion of storage container located between the front and back portions is separated from the floor. In some embodiments a first storage container height near the front is greater than the second storage container height near the rear. In some embodiments the height of a storage container is varied such that the third height at a location between the front and back portions of the container is smaller than both the second and first height.
In some embodiments, a storage container can be removed from the storage area. In some embodiments the storage containers can be removed only by moving a storage container so that a portion is outside the space, then manipulating it to move the hook to the top of the space and finally removing the entire storage container.Click here to view the patent on Google Patents.