4 ways IT can keep medications straight
August 14, 2013 in Medical Technology
On one level, taking a pill is one of the simplest forms of healthcare, and it’s safe to say that across the country people pop pills by the millions every day.
At the same time, medication errors are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of patients annually, and the odds are many other patients end up taking the wrong medicine with more minor consequences.
It was an error of that sort which led to the creation of MedSnap, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company that is focused on using IT to improve medication safety. According to MedSnap’s co-founder and CEO, Patrick Hymel, MD, about two-and-a-half years ago his grandfather was taking the wrong medicine to treat his prostate cancer – and it was six weeks before the error was discovered.
“That led me to think hard about how I could have captured the error more easily,” said Hymel.
He also began to think about the difficulty providers have determining accurate medication histories, and after having lunch with a colleague who related a similar experience, MedSnap was born.
“We decided to build a technology that would allow any clinician to quickly diagnose any prescription errors,” said Hymel. MedSnap’s mission has since grown, however, and it now produces a suite of apps that enable clinicians to identify and access information on a growing range of prescription medications, as well as help patients and caregivers manage medication regimens.
As Hymel sees it, there are four current and potential benefits database-oriented apps can bring to medication tracking and safety: