September 14, 2014

Medical Devices

Popping Pills

Here's a bed-side device that frees up nurses for other duties.

Barbara Miracle | 5/1/2008
For hospital patients in pain, the time spent waiting for a prescription pain pill — which must be dispensed by a nurse — can be agony. But at a few Florida hospitals, patients have more control over pain management with a bedside table-device called Medication On Demand, or MOD.

The device enables patients to take oral medication on their own, but only at the doctor-ordered intervals that are programmed into the MOD. The apparatus is about the size of an answering machine and is attached to an IV pole. When the green “ready” light comes on, the patient registers his or her degree of pain on a pain scale (one to 10) and then swipes a patented radio frequency (RFID) hospital wristband over the device to open the single pill compartment. After 45 seconds, the compartment closes. The MOD can be programmed by doctors and nurses with any Windows-based device.

The MOD, which also might be used for as-needed anxiety and nausea medications, is the brainchild of Volusia County oncologist Sharon Conley, who practiced at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach from 1991 to 2003. “I got very interested in supportive care,” says Conley. “One of the areas I became aware of was the inability of my patients to get the oral pain medications on an as-needed basis.”

Conley launched Avancen in 2002, recruited a professional chairman and COO in 2005 and received a patent on the MOD in 2006. She’s received $2.1 million in venture capital support and is looking for $5 million more. About a dozen hospitals in and out of Florida are trying out the MOD.

Avancen’s next venture is a system to wirelessly upload data, such as the patient’s pain level and medication times, from the MOD to electronic medical records. Right now, the company is working with electronic medical records provider Cerner Corp., but Conley says Avancen also will partner with other electronic records companies.

After the hospital market, which is the company’s marketing priority this year, Conley says the focus will be a separate device for outpatient facilities such as nursing homes. That device likely will use fingerprint technology rather than RFID, since those patients don’t typically wear wristbands.

In addition to revenue from the MODs, which sell for $2,995 or can be leased for $90 per month, the company expects to generate recurring revenue through the sale of wristbands and MOD trays.

Tags: Healthcare

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