How Two Tiny Technologies Can Solve Big Medical Problems

As health care costs continue to climb, science is finding ways to solve some of the biggest problems plaguing the administrative side of the medical world.

Counterfeit medication is a huge problem, costing European countries alone an estimated €1.4bn each year. The problem manifests itself in several ways, from medicines that don’t actually contain any active ingredients to those that contain an incorrect dosage or dangerous additives. When you add to this to the widespread problem of theft of both medications and equipment from hospitals, it’s easy to see that there is a pressing need for some sort of solution.

Barcodes Can Help Control Medications

Two technologies can be particularly valuable in stemming the losses from these problems. The first one is barcodes. In 2017, every pack of medication in the EU will be required to have a barcode on it, which will be cross-checked in a database when manufactured and again when dispensed by a pharmacist. The code will contain a unique identifier and details about the manufacturer and batch to help control its distribution and stop any problems that are discovered relatively quickly.

RFID Places a Pair of Eyes on Everything in a Hospital
RFID is another technology that can be used, and its effects are even more
far-reaching because an RFID tag can be attached to absolutely anything, whether it’s medicine, equipment, or even patients. Anything that is tagged can be tracked on a map, which can help prevent theft and save some valuable time when the whereabouts of a needed piece of equipment in a large clinic are simply unknown.

With the use of RFID tags and barcodes, waste can be kept to a minimum, counterfeit drugs can be curbed, doctors can perform their jobs much more efficiently, and ultimately, patients can have better outcomes.

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