Safe Home Medicine Delivery

Safe Home Medicine Delivery

Reima Suomi (University of Turku, Finland), Teijo Peltoniemi (University of Turku, Finland), Jyrki Niinistö (Evondos Ltd., Finland) and Mika Apell (Evondos Ltd., Finland)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch029

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The medicine delivery chain from consumption outlet point (hospital, care-taking home, pharmacy) to the final usage by the patient is full of difficulties and prone to the possibility of error. Many prescriptions never end up being consumed. On the other hand, many patients, of their own volition, consume excess amounts of medicines that are either harmful or not beneficial.

Medicine delivery is not only difficult in home settings, even professional organizations, such as nursing homes (van den Bemt, Idzinga, Robertz, Kormelink, & Pels, 2009) and hospitals (Keers, Williams, Cooke, & Ashcroft, 2013), are error-prone in the medicine administration process.

The problems in the delivery of medicines are many. Polypharmacy – the simultaneous use of several medicines – compounds risks, such as the use of expired medications. Furthermore, the large number of prescribers and dispensers for medications found in the home, plus medication hoarding, multiple storage locations for medication, the lack of medication administration routines, the presence of discontinued medication repeats, and the lack of an understanding of generic versus trade names (Sorensen, Stokes, Purdie, Woodward, & Robers, 2005) lead to health implications if they are realized.

Among the many problems, an important one is that of a patient’s inability to come to terms with the practical operation of the medicines delivered to them in a home setting (Kwint, Faber, Gussekloo, & Bouvy, 2011). There may be too many medicines and they might resemble each other too much. The small size of the pills and tablets might cause problems and the timing of their taking might be problematic. Currently, relatively wealthy, elderly people might suffer from these problems of excess and similarity, but memory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s as well as visual impairments and poor motoric capabilities when handling small items will add to the problem area.

Patient adherence is a key starting point for the delivery of the proper medication. Patient adherence (Martin, Williams, Haskard, & DiMatteo, 2005), sometimes called patient compliance, refers to the willingness of patients to follow the medical treatments prescribed. Without adherence, even the best medicine delivery solutions, technical or otherwise, cannot be successfully implemented because patients can seldom be medicated against their will. The results are that in the US alone the lack of adherence is costing the healthcare system approximately $300 billion yearly (Foo, Chua, & Ng, 2011).

The ability to manage, control and consume medication is a key component of proper medication and as the number of required medicines grows, their management becomes more complicated. In this article, we discuss this problem field in detail, presenting an innovative solution for medicine distribution at home: based on the automated distribution of the blistered medicines according to a set time-plan. Medicines can be collected from an automatic dispenser only at the specified time, not before and not after. Furthermore, the automatic dispenser notifies a predefined service center if the medicines are not taken at the specified time.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Medicine Delivery Chain: The process and organization of delivering medicines to the patients/consumers. The complete chain is from the manufacturer to the patient/consumer. An important subchain is from the pharmacy/hospital to the patient/consumer. The delivery chain might also refer to the delivery process and the organization of the medicine from the concept to the final consumption.

Patient Concordance: A patient’s involvement in the process of prescribing medicines.

Polypharmacy: The simultaneous use of multiple medications.

Automated Drug Dispensing: Solutions that eliminate or minimize human labor from the medicine delivery activities to the individual.

Medicine Administration: The delivery of a pharmaceutical drug to a patient.

Patient Adherence: A patient’s willingness to follow the decisions and instructions about his/her care and cure in the case of prescribed medicines.

Automated Drug Administration: The distribution of the correct medicines to the correct patient, at the correct time.

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