Invented by Norman A. Shoenfeld, S&S X Ray Products Inc
The S&S X Ray Products Inc invention works as followsA wall mounted medications cabinet contains at least one locking drawer, but preferably four, with removable bins that hold the medication for each patient. Each drawer can be opened electronically independently. The drawers can be opened electronically using a PC integrated with a touchscreen monitor or by a network. Cabinets can be connected via USB or Ethernet interface. In the event of power failure, a key lock will allow access.
Background for Wall mounted medication cabinet
This invention is a cabinet or storage facility for keeping prescription drugs and medications for a patient. The invention relates to a locking cupboard that can be mounted to a wall in a patient’s room at a hospital or healthcare facility to store pharmaceuticals and keep track of the access.
In general pharmaceuticals are delivered when needed to patients, and this usually involves the use of a medication cart that contains the prescription medications of all patients on a particular floor of the health care center or hospital. The cart is usually loaded at a pharmacy and brought to a particular floor of the hospital. The cart is wheeled to each room and delivered to the patient at the exact time the nurse or other practitioner will administer the medication. It is more convenient to use a cart than to obtain each patient’s medication individually. The current method of transporting medications from room to room using a cart is both inefficient and unwieldy. The nurse must usually push or pull the heavy cart. It can be difficult to maneuver if the floor is uneven or if there is carpet. The medication cart is large, obtrusive and takes up valuable hallway and corridor space. The drugs are retrieved from the lower drawers by bending over and stooping. The first nurse will have to hunt down the cart if she needs to get a specific drug for a patient and another nurse is using it for their medication rounds. When the pharmacy staff come to the floor to replenish the cart, it is difficult to locate and often in use, which wastes time for them. The cart is often too large to fit in the patient’s bedroom. The portable cart also requires periodic battery charging, which is often forgotten and overlooked until it fails.
It is easier and more efficient for the nurses to store the medications in the patients’ rooms or wards, or the cluster of room where the patient is situated. The medications must be locked up with a lock, key, or some other device, and only the pharmacy staff and nursing staff should have access. The record of the access to pharmaceuticals must be kept, but currently this is done by hand-writing entries in a book or typing information separately on a computer workstation.
It would be ideal to have a pharmacy cabinet located at the patient’s location, where medications prescribed by a doctor can be stored safely and securely by pharmacy staff. The cabinet will keep track of all accesses and can be accessed electronically by nurses (e.g. using a wireless device, fingerprint scanner, barcode reader or RFID device). The cabinet should be kept safe and secure with mechanisms to lock the drawers after every use. However, there is no current measure to implement this.
Shoenfeld U.S. Patent No. No. No.
The present invention aims to create a medication cabinet with a secure locking system that overcomes the disadvantages of prior art.
It is another thing to have a medication cabinet that keeps track of who has accessed the cabinet, and when. This applies for a number similar cabinets located throughout an institution.
It is another object to provide an enclosure that can be mounted to a wall in a patient’s room, or in certain cases to a wall in a convenient place in a cluster patient rooms. The enclosure of the medications cabinet includes a front and at least one other side wall. The enclosure has one or more locking cabinets, each of which includes a medication bin that can only be accessed by an authorized person (e.g. a nurse). Each medication bin has a proximal side that is located at the side of the cabinet in the closed position. The distal end is located within the enclosure. Each drawer is equipped with a sliding mechanism which allows the medication bin to be opened to gain access and then pushed back into its closed position. Each drawer has a latch mechanism that can be released from the enclosure. This latch engages the member attached to the medications bin in the closed position. The latch mechanism locks the drawer but can be moved between its locked and unlocked positions. The latch mechanism releases the latching member of the medication bin in the second position.
The cabinet is also equipped with a computer-based microprocessor that allows a nurse to unlock the latch (for the medication drawer of a patient) so that the nurse has access to the drawer. The automatic access facility returns the latch mechanism back to its locked position, securing the drawer bin once it is returned to its closed state.
In one implementation, the latching mechanism can include a latching member which is pivotally supported by a horizontal pivot. The associated latching member can be formed from a transverse strikeplate formed at the distal end.
The latch member can be a bar, lever or hook with a hook at one end. It has a surface that is inclined to engage the transverse strikeplate to raise it over the bin and a surface that blocks the strikeplate to prevent the bin from being pulled out. The latch mechanism may also include a servomotor associated with the latch to lift it from its locked position to its unlocked one.
In some cases, the cabinet can only have one drawer. But in other instances, it may contain two, three or even more drawers for medications. If the cabinet contains multiple drawers, they can be stacked one on top of another. Each drawer is equipped with its own latch mechanism. These latch mechanisms can be operated independently. “The automatic access feature of the medication cabinet ensures only one drawer is unlocked at a given time.
Each bin can be removed from the drawer and replaced so that the pharmacy staff is able to restock the medication cabinet by changing the entire bin. As discussed in my U.S. Pat., these can be plastic bins for drawers of a 5-inch medical cart. No. 6,775,591. This simplifies the operation of the pharmacy and eliminates any possible errors.
The cabinet can be equipped with a touch-screen computer monitor, mounted, e.g. in a VESA mounting, integrated into the front of the enclosure, to provide automatic access. The nurse or another authorized person can enter the pass code and identification on soft keys of the touch screen or by using other methods such as a swipe card reader or RFID receiver or fingerprint scanner. The touch screen monitor can be a part of the PC or connected to a unit within the cabinet. The cabinet could also have a small touch screen display. The PC can use a network interface to connect with a hospital’s computer network so that locked drawers may be opened remotely through the hospital’s computer network. The touch screen computer may also include a DVD player for displaying visual program material. It can be used to provide educational or instructional materials about therapy or for entertainment. Video material can be sent to individual cabinet computers via the hospital’s network. Each computer can contain different material. Wireless hand-held devices, such as a Palm Pilot, can be used to access the drawers of the cabinets. It can use Wi-Fi technology, infrared or blue tooth.
Each medication drawer can have a sensor that is directly or indirectly connected to the touch screen or automatic access system, detecting whether the drawer bins are in their closed position. A local alarm (buzzer) can sound if the drawer is left open longer than a programmed threshold. The open status will also be transmitted to the hospital main computer. As mentioned, automatic access is possible using a cable (wired or wireless) that connects the network interface with the hospital computer network. It may be a USB interface. A USB or Ethernet cable (or a similar serial cable device) can be used to open the drawers electronically. The software, which can be installed on the cabinet’s on-board computer or the remote computer system (or both), keeps a record of who opened each cabinet and when. The same software can be used to control different locks on cabinets in a facility. This could include a nursing home, hospital or other healthcare facility. The software can also create an audit trail of remotely unlocked fridges where medications are kept.
The medication cabinet can also have a key lock mechanism to allow emergency access to medications stored in drawers. This could be in case of power outages or computer failures.
The remote hospital computer can include software that assigns a serial number code to every individual medication cabinet. This allows the remote computer to lock and unlock each of the plurality of doors locks connected to the hospital computer independently.
The pharmacy staff could distribute patient prescriptions at convenient times. For example, they could do this during quiet hours by putting a new patient bin into the cabinet and returning the old one to the pharmacy. The pharmacy staff can also place temperature-sensitive medications in the patient’s refrigerator. “The medications will be ready to be administered by the nurse, or any other caregiver on time. No need to carry a cart around from room to room.
Similar cabinets can be used for controlled storage in laboratories and clinics, where items need to be restricted, but it’s also important to keep an audit trail.
The wall-mounted cabinet of this invention has several advantages: Since the unit is installed in the wall, it is not necessary to move a heavy cart. The patient-specific medication is always available in the room of the patient, and not on a cart that may be down the hall. The pharmacy can replenish the drawers of patient medications without needing to search for the cart. The cabinet stays in the same location from day to day. The nurse will spend less time in hallways and more in patient rooms. Nurses and doctors spend more time in the patient’s room because they are spending less time on the hallway with their cart. The nurse and doctor can spend more time with the patient when they are in the room. The wall-mounted dispensing cabinets bring electronic record keeping to the patient?s bedside. The audit trail records each time the nurse was present in the patient’s room during the dispensing of medications.
The following description of an exemplary preferred embodiment should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.Click here to view the patent on Google Patents.