Medication Labelling System Licensed

Techna and UHN’s Technology Development and Commercialization office (TDC) are pleased to announce the licensing of a UHN medication safety system to Assure Medical Systems Inc. — a start-up company co-founded by TGH anesthesiologist Dr. Ludwik Fedorko and technology innovator Kevin Morwood.

The system was co-invented by Dr. Fedorko and TGRI Senior Scientist Dr. Joe Fisher in order to reduce critical medication errors in the operating room. The commercialization of this technology — supported by Techna’s business development and commercialization team — is timely as UHN CEO Dr. Peter Pisters has highlighted patient safety as the cornerstone to being a high reliability organization.

As part of the conventional process of preparing medications to be used during a surgical procedure, medications are drawn into unmarked syringes prior to surgery from the vials in which they are originally supplied, then diluted as necessary. Traditionally, labels were handwritten, then placed on each syringe, which significantly increased the risk of labelling errors and/or of misinterpretation.

This newly-licensed medication safety system provides a safe and accurate means of labelling these syringes, to significantly reduce errors. The system works by reading the bar code on the manufacturer’s label of each originating drug vial, and then printing a clear and accurate adhesive label that is then applied to each syringe as it is filled from the originating vial. Each label is automatically populated with the drug name, concentration, time of preparation/ expiration, color coded according to industry standards, and bar-coded to allow for electronic drug re-verification prior to patient administration.

The labelling system has been in use for over 5 years at UHN, has been used on over 40,000 patients, and requires minimal support. “Many medication errors occur as a result of improper labelling of drugs” says co-inventor Dr. Ludwik Fedorko. “We hope that this technology will reduce the number of medication errors, and ultimately result in improved patient safety”.