Approximately 5% of all hospitalized patients experience an adverse drug event (ADE), half which are due to preventable medication errors (MEs). Although various preventative measures have been implemented, recognition and early intervention is still critical when MEs do occur. Perioperative settings pose a unique challenge for ME prevention and mitigation due to the high-stress and sometimes confusing nature of the situations. Current best practice is to keep all used syringes and drug vials until each case has concluded. In practice, it is common for clinicians to place opened vials, ampules and used syringes into plastic bags during procedures, which increases the risk of equipment contamination and sharps injuries. Alternatively, vials and ampules are discarded into sharps disposal containers, making it extremely difficult to quickly identify the possible cause of an ADE when one occurs and mitigate accordingly.
The Error Recovery and Mitigation Aide (ERMA) provides a simple and efficient way to implement the best practice, while maintaining a safe and clean environment. ERMA is an addition to standard sharps containers, comprising a clear reservoir that allows for the capture and viewing of medications, syringes, needles and vials during the course of an anesthetic or emergency procedure, while preserving the security of the sharps disposal process. The bottom of the reservoir pivots, allowing the items to be safely disposed of into the sharps container at the end of the procedure, once all the medications have been verified. ERMA can be adapted to fit a variety of sharps container designs depending on the end user’s needs and can be provided as an aftermarket add-on or as part of a 3-piece unit. An international patent application has been filed.
ERMA is the brainchild of Jean Snyder, an experienced nurse anesthetist who was inspired by the story of a young boy who died during routine surgery after being administered the incorrect medication. Sadly, in this case the medication error was not recognized in time, otherwise the outcome may have been different. Having witnessed first-hand the hurried, confusing and distracting conditions in the operating room, the innovator sought to improve the existing standard practice for storage and verification of administered medications with the hopes of preventing future tragedies.
Approximately 48 million surgical procedures are performed annually in the US alone, most involving the administration of multiple medications. The go-to market approach we are taking with this product is to evaluate the product within operating rooms, allowing OR staff to use the device and generate data demonstrating its ease of use within the work flow of a busy OR and its utility in medication management. We will then look to license the IP to a sharps container manufacturer.
About the Innovators
Jean Snyder is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists with over 34 years of nursing experience. She is affiliated with Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, VA and Tidewater Physician Multispecialty Group in Williamsburg, VA. In addition, she is the owner of her own anesthesia business, Jean F Snyder CRNA, Inc. and a partner in Goodwin and Snyder Anesthesia Associates, PLLC. She received a BS in Nursing from Niagara University, Lewiston NY, an MS in Nurse Anesthesia from SUNY, Buffalo NY and a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. The focus of her professional practice is patient safety, innovation, and nurse empowerment.