3 Reasons Why Measurements Matter in the Health Industry
Approximating a measurement is not sufficient in the world of healthcare. Doctors and nurses rely on the industry to produce precision-grade instruments and products. Let’s briefly look at the health industry and the role accurate measurement plays in product manufacturing, medication dosage, and surgery.
1. Product Manufacturing
Substandard medical products can pose harm to patients and the public in general. The product’s inability to deliver an accurate reading can lead patients to falsely believe their condition is not serious. Sadly, their health may be in severe danger. In turn, if the patient’s health condition is contagious, they could inadvertently put others at risk.
Errors in calculating active ingredients often lead to medicines, vitamins, and supplements having only a fraction of their stated potency. Faulty measurements in healthcare devices also pose a risk. Two such devices are spinal stimulators and insulin pumps.
Spinal stimulators emit an electrical current that interferes with the body’s pain signal. If the signal doesn’t reach the brain, the patient will not register the pain.
Doctors use the devices for a variety of conditions that cause chronic pain, including back injuries. However, if the stimulator incorrectly measures the amount of electricity it emits, it can shock the patient so powerfully that it becomes difficult to perform daily actions, including sleep.
Likewise, insulin pumps that fail to measure their dosages correctly can lead to harm rather than good. Diabetic patients must receive the correct amount of insulin when the body needs it. Too little insulin is obviously dangerous, but so is too much.
2. Medication Dosage
According to a European study conducted at a teaching college, 14% of medication errors involved measuring the wrong dosage. Most of the mistakes resulted in overdosing.
In the US, medication errors result in thousands of deaths each year. Errors are likely to occur when converting measurements. Failing to convert from imperial units to metric measurements can result in overdosing.
For example, a doctor may base an infant’s medication on the child’s weight. If the child weighs 15 pounds, it weighs only 6.8 kilograms.
However, if no one converts the weight, the dosage may mistakenly be calculated for a child weighing 15 kilograms rather than pounds. That’s more than twice the true weight. Depending on the medication, the error could be deadly.
It’s common for patients to undergo a measurement of their pupils prior to corrective eye surgery. The size of the pupil can give some indication of the likely success of the operation.
However, measuring pupil size is not as simple as it may sound. Precision instruments are needed to give a correct assessment.
The more information the patients have, the better equipped they are to make a decision about their vision. And of course, the more accurate the data, the better the guidance doctors can offer their patients.
Similarly, accurate measurement is needed for cataract surgery where doctors remove the cataract or clouded lens, then replace it with an artificial one. The new lens needs to be a perfect fit.
The challenge increases due to the unique shape of each person’s eyes. The shape influences the measurement. The doctor wants to gather as many measurements as necessary to formulate the best-fitting lens implant.