In my story today on the new nonprofit start-up incubator EvoNexus, I briefly described the product being developed by Medipacs, one of the first three companies invited into the incubator. But I didn’t detail what the product could mean for hospital safety.

The product is an iPhone-sized, wearable wireless medication pump that would replace in many instances the syringes and intravenous bags that now deliver medications in hospitals. The product, which is still in development, uses small rubbery pumps to administer medications from insulin to pain medications to fertility drugs, said Medipacs CEO Mark McWilliams.

The wireless technology in the pumps will allow doctors and nurses to monitor and adjust the dosage amounts being delivered to patients in real time. This, McWilliams said, will address medication dosage errors, one of the biggest safety issues in hospitals.

At least 1.5 million people are injured because of medication errors each year, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. And the cost to hospitals of treating these injuries is at least $3.5 billion.

McWilliams claims the pump will not only lead to fewer errors, but free up nurses to concentrate on other parts of their jobs.

“We can save 25 percent of a nurse’s day,” McWilliams said.

The company hopes to have the device fully developed by next year and on the market by 2011.

DAVID WASHBURN

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