Medical mistakes can be costly for the patients who become the victims.
A slight mix up in medication can mean the difference between life or death. A new system in place at a Texas hospital aims to make sure that doesn't happen. It's a small piece of medical equipment, but it's job is vital to the safety of patients. It's called the PYXIS Biometric Security System, and dispenses drugs to patients at JPS hospital in Fort Worth.
The nurses enter their ID numbers into the machines. They also have to provide their thumbprint to get access to the medications. When the drawer opens, and the nurse is only able to give the patient the prescribed medication inside the container.
"When it opens you can only get that medication. There is less chance for the nurse getting another medication for the patient," says nurse Angie Longran.
"It also prints out a report at the end of every transaction so they can go back and track any mistakes that were made. It identifies every user that's been in the machine," says pharmacist Melissa Johnson.
So, there's a lot less chance for medications to be abused or stolen, taking accountability to a new level. The PYXIS machine is also a time saver for the nurses who no longer have to search through a drawer for the appropriate medications.
UMC said they have had PYXIS since the 90's but they have had the new version only a few years. Covenant said they have something similar, but they do not have the thumbprint but use an ID and password. Covenant says they plan to upgrade to that eventually. They have had their system for about two and a half years.