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Device prevents potential errors in children's medications
Date:1/8/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A device designed to eliminate mistakes made while mixing compounds at a hospital pharmacy was 100 percent accurate in identifying the proper formulations of seven intravenous drugs.

Five potentially serious medication errors were averted over an 18-month period in a test at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in the University of Michigan Health System by using the technology, said Jim Stevenson, associate dean of Clinical Sciences at the U-M College of Pharmacy. Stevenson also directs Pharmacy Services at the U-M Health System.

Stevenson said the hospital is the first in the world to use this device to test patient drugs compounded in the pharmacy. The U-M Health System already has many safeguards, such as bar coding, in place to avert mistakes.

"Errors in compounding these types of medications are rare. However, when they occur they can have a significant negative impact on patients and staff," Stevenson said. "We know from having this technology in place we've deterred five errors that might have happened. I really believe having technology like this needs to be the standard around the country."

The table-top device manufactured by ValiMed, a division of Tuscon, Ariz.,-based CDEX Inc., uses a technique called enhanced photoemission spectroscopy to determine if the compounds are correct. Light is shot into the drug compound, which excites molecules, and the energy emitted by the excited molecules is measured by a spectrometer. Each drug compound tested has its own so-called light fingerprint, which is compared to the fingerprint of the control compound. If they match, the drug is considered correct.

There are many potential safeguards that are being pursued to improve medication safety, Stevenson said. However, the primary safeguard for intravenous drugs compounded in hospital pharmacies today remains a visual check by the pharmacist. Using a technology like this helps prevent mistakes that can o
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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