Bridge Medical: Oops-less Medicine
The subject of medical mistakes has drawn increased attention over the last five years, culminating in the November 1999 Institute of Medicine's report, which made front page news and triggered responses from President Clinton and Congress, as well as the medical establishment and the health care industry. Of particular interest to pharmaceutical and medical products companies is the problem of medication errors, which appear to be increasing for a variety of reasons, ranging from the complexities posed by ever-increasing numbers of drugs and delivery regimens, to more basic factors such as indecipherable physician handwriting and the increased pressure resulting from medical staffing reductions. Whatever the cause, one thing is clear: medication errors are a systemic problem not given to any one quick fix. With the potential for errors occurring at every stage of the medication delivery chain--prescribing, processing, dispensing, and administering drugs--there's plenty of room for companies with potential solutions. Yet, existing information and automated drug distribution systems only incidentally address the problem of medication errors. Bridge Medical, a start-up focused exclusively on developing systems to prevent medication errors, is looking to correct mistakes no matter where they originate by concentrating on the final step in the drug delivery process: the patient's bedside. Bridge recently parted ways with its founder, choosing to move in a different direction that will bring it into more direct competition with large health care information technology players. The company is betting that having a technological headstart and being the only pure-play medication-error company will enable it to successfully navigate what is rapidly becoming a crowded and heavily scrutinized market.
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