The TouchDose Study - Video transcripts
The Challenge, with Alex, Doctor
When we give medications to patients, the amount of medicine needed is normally determined by the size of the patient.
Most adults are around the same size, so adults normally get the same amount of medication. However children vary in size, from tiny newborn babies to fully grown teenagers. This means that the amount of medicine they need, must be calculated and measured for the individual at the time the medication is needed.
The amount of medicine is usually based on how heavy the child is and sometimes on how tall they are. The way in which the medicine is given is determined by the reason the child needs it and the expertise of the doctors and nurses in working out how sick the child is.
Doctors need to find the right medicine from complicated formularies printed in books or on websites. Nurses then have to do some tricky maths to calculate and measure the right amount of medicine for each child.
All of this means that there are sometimes mistakes in the way the medications are prepared and given, especially in emergency situations when everything needs to be done quickly. Normally these mistakes can be corrected, but occasionally these mistakes can be harmful to the patient, which may make them sicker, or slow their recovery.
We believe that, by supporting doctors and nurses with the calculations, computers can help make this process safer.
Our solution, with Carmen, Product Manager
Our team at Imperial College, based in St Mary’s Hospital in London, has created a system called TouchDose to help doctors and nurses give medicine to children.
TouchDose makes it easier to find the right dose for the patient and makes sure that medicines are given correctly, at the right time, and in the right way for the individual child.
Designed for medications given by injection or infusion, TouchDose includes an iPad app to calculate the amount of medication needed, based on information about the child including their age and weight. The TouchDose app does the maths, and then shows the nurse exactly how to prepare and give the medication.
TouchDose also works with a label printer. This allows the nurse to print out a label to be attached to the syringe. This label on the syringe uses arrows and numbers to show the nurse the precise amount of medicine to draw into the syringe, how much to dilute the medicine, and how to give the medicine to the child.
This system has been designed to work with the most common medicines given to children in hospitals, and can help doctors and nurses with both routine and complicated medications.
The study, with Cally, Research Nurse
Before doctors and nurses around the world can use TouchDose, we need to prove that it is safe, and that doctors and nurses find it easy to use. We also need to show that is it safer, and hopefully quicker, than the way medications are calculated and prepared in hospitals at the moment.
We have already tested the system with doctors and nurses in a simulation trial, and so we are already confident that TouchDose works well. We now need to do a longer trial with real patients in a hospital ward. While the system is being tested, we will also be able to help see what nurses find difficult and improve the way it is designed.
There are many steps taken during the trial to make sure that it is safe.
Firstly nurses will still use their experience and clinical judgement.
Secondly, all medications will be double checked by a second nurse to make sure the medication is correct.
And thirdly, during the trial, the researchers will be on hand to make sure everyone knows how to use the new system properly and answer questions.
With the extra people concentrating on the medication, we anticipate that safety will be higher than normal throughout the trial.
In the first phase of the study we observe how doctors and nurses currently prepare and give medications for a period of three months. After training the doctors and nurses on the children’s ward to use TouchDose, we will then observe them using it for a further 3 months. The two phases allow us to measure how effective TouchDose is compared to the way we give medicines now.
After the trial period we will look at all the information we have gathered, to find out if TouchDose improves the way medicine is given, and how we can continue to make the system better.
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