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Title:
MEDICAL WASTE FLUIDS COLLECTING UNIT AND REPORTING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/022551
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients includes a sending unit associated with each of the one or more patients, and a remote data storage system. The sending unit includes a container for receiving the fluids from a patient via an inlet tube, a device for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in said container, a processor programmed to receive the information from said device and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a transmitter for transmitting data including the determined volume. The remote data storage system includes a receiver for receiving the transmitted data for storage within the remote data storage system.

Inventors:
KIRN, David, S. (4858 Hartland Parkway, Lexington, KY, 40515, US)
HISEL, Richard, D. (2201 Catnip Hill Rd, Nicholasville, KY, 40356, US)
WHITMAN, William (2532 Abbeywood Place, Lexington, KY, 40515, US)
Application Number:
US2017/043611
Publication Date:
February 01, 2018
Filing Date:
July 25, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WERD, LLC (4858 Hartland Parkway, Lexington, KY, 40515, US)
KIRN, David, S. (4858 Hartland Parkway, Lexington, KY, 40515, US)
HISEL, Richard, D. (2201 Catnip Hill Rd, Nicholasville, KY, 40356, US)
WHITMAN, William (2532 Abbeywood Place, Lexington, KY, 40515, US)
International Classes:
A61M1/00; A61M1/02; A61M1/06; A61M1/08; A61M1/34; B08B9/00; B08B9/08
Foreign References:
US20140343515A12014-11-20
US5901717A1999-05-11
US20080179344A12008-07-31
US20050209585A12005-09-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARGIS, Michael, S. et al. (800 Corporate Drive, Suite 200Lexington, KY, 40503, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED:

1. A system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients, comprising:

a sending unit associated with each of the one or more patients, said sending unit including a container for receiving the fluids from a patient via an inlet tube, a device for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in said container, a processor programmed to receive the information from said device and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a transmitter for transmitting data including the determined volume; and

a remote data storage system including a receiver for receiving the transmitted data for storage within the remote data storage system.

2. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said sending unit includes a display.

3. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 2, wherein at least one of the volume of the fluids, container data, and system calibration information is displayed on said display.

4. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 2, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

5. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 2, further comprising a mobile device including said display.

6. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 5, wherein said mobile device is a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer.

7. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, further comprising a memory associated with said processor for storing at least the volume of the fluids and the information obtained relating to at least one aspect of the fluids.

8. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said sending unit includes a user interface for receiving user input.

9. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 8, wherein the user input includes at least one of a date of container placement, a volume reporting interval, a location of said sending unit, and patient information.

10. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said remote data storage system is in communication with a medical records system.

11. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 10, wherein said remote data storage system includes a user interface in communication with said remote data storage system and said medical records system to facilitate exporting at least a portion of the data transmitted from said sending unit to said medical records system.

12. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 11, wherein said user interface displays at least a portion of the data transmitted from said sending unit.

13. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said remote data storage system is in communication with a monitoring service for reporting at least one of a diagnostic report, calibration information, and use information.

14. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said remote data storage system includes a display.

15. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 14, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

16. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 14, further comprising a mobile device including said display.

17. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 14, wherein said remote data storage system includes a user interface for receiving user input.

18. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said remote data storage system is a web based application.

19. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said sending unit includes a base for supporting said container and said device.

20. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 19, wherein said base supports said display.

21. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claims 19, further comprising a housing and a guide extending from said housing for securing said inlet tube.

22. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 21, wherein said guide secures said inlet tube in order to isolate said container from at least one force applied to at least one of said inlet tube.

23. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said sending unit includes a barcode.

24. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 23, wherein said barcode includes information about the sending unit which can be linked to a patient record in said medical records system.

25. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 23, wherein said barcode is a quick response code.

26. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 23, wherein said barcode is located on a housing of said sending unit.

27. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 23, wherein said barcode is located on said container.

28. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 23, wherein said barcode is visible on a display associated with said sending unit.

29. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, further comprising a barcode scanner.

30. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said sending unit includes a radio frequency identifier.

31. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said device is a load cell for determining a weight of the fluids in said container.

32. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 31, wherein said load cell is attached to said container.

33. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said container is cylindrical in shape.

34. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, further comprising a liner positioned within said container for receiving the fluids via said inlet tube.

35. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 34, wherein said liner is disposable.

36. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, further comprising an inner container positioned within said container for receiving the fluids.

37. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 36, further comprising a lid for said container, said lid including an inlet port connected to said inlet tube.

38. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 37, said lid further including a vacuum port connected to a vacuum tube through which a vacuum is applied to said container for suctioning the fluids.

39. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 36, wherein said processor is programmed to determine whether said container includes said inner container.

40. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 39, wherein said processor determines whether said container includes said inner container based on a tare weight of said container.

41. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said device obtains information relating to a color of the fluids in said container.

42. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 41, wherein said processor is programmed to determine an amount of a blood component of the fluids based in part on the weight of the fluids determined by said device and the color of the fluids in said container.

43. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said device obtains information relating to a height of the fluids in said container.

44. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said device obtains information relating to at least one of an optical transmittance, an absorbance, and a reflectance of the fluids in said container.

45. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 43, wherein said device includes at least one camera positioned adjacent said container for obtaining at least one image of the fluids in said container.

46. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 45, wherein said processor is programmed to analyze the at least one image to determine a height of the fluids in said container.

47. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 1, wherein said container includes a target.

48. A system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients, comprising:

a sending unit associated with each of the one or more patients, said sending unit including a base supporting a container for receiving the fluids from a patient via an inlet tube, a load cell for obtaining a weight of the fluids and said container, a processor programmed to receive the weight from said load cell and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a

communicator for transmitting data including the determined volume; and

a remote data storage system including a communicator for receiving the transmitted data for storage within the remote data storage system.

49. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said base supports a display.

50. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claims 48, wherein said sending unit includes a housing supported by said base.

51. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claims 49, wherein a screen associated with said display is visible through an aperture in said housing.

52. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 50, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

53. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, further comprising a mobile device including a display.

54. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 52, wherein said mobile device is a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer.

55. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 52, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

56. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 49, wherein said sending unit includes a guide extending from said housing for securing said inlet tube.

57. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said remote data storage system is in communication with a medical records system.

58. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 56, wherein said remote data storage system includes a user interface in communication with said remote data storage system and said medical records system to facilitate exporting at least a portion of the data transmitted from said sending unit to said medical records system.

59. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said remote data storage system includes a display.

60. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 58, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

61. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 59, further comprising a mobile device including said display.

62. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said remote data storage system is a web based application.

63. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said load cell is attached to said container.

64. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, wherein said container is cylindrical in shape.

65. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, further comprising a liner positioned within said container for receiving the fluids via said inlet tube.

66. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, further comprising an inner container positioned within said container for receiving the fluids.

67. The system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients of claim 47, further comprising a lid for said container, said lid including an inlet port connected to said inlet tube.

68. A unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient, comprising:

a base;

a container, supported by said base, for receiving the fluids from the patient via an inlet tube;

a device, supported by said base, for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in said container;

a processor programmed to receive the information from said device and to determine a volume of the fluids; and

a display.

69. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein at least one of the volume of the fluids, container data, and system calibration information is displayed on said display.

70. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

71. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a mobile device including said display.

72. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 71, wherein said mobile device is a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer.

73. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a memory associated with said processor for storing at least the volume of the fluids and the information obtained relating to at least one aspect of the fluids.

74. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said display includes a user interface for receiving user input.

75. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 74, wherein the user input includes at least one of a date of container placement, a volume reporting interval, a location of said base, and patient information.

76. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a transmitter for communicating with a remote data storage system.

77. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a housing and a guide extending from said housing for securing said inlet tube.

78. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 77, wherein said guide secures said inlet tube in order to isolate said container from at least one force applied to at least one of said inlet tube.

79. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a barcode displayed thereon.

80. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 79, wherein said barcode includes information about the device which can be linked to a patient record in a medical records system.

81. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 79, wherein said barcode is a quick response code.

82. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 79, wherein said barcode is located on a housing.

83. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 79, wherein said barcode is located on said container.

84. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 79, wherein said barcode is visible on a display associated with said device.

85. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a barcode scanner.

86. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a radio frequency identifier.

87. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said device is a load cell for determining a weight of the fluids in said container.

88. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 87, wherein said load cell supports said container.

89. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said container is cylindrical in shape.

90. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a liner positioned within said container for receiving the fluids via said inlet tube.

91. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 90, wherein said liner is disposable.

92. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising an inner container positioned within said container for receiving the fluids.

93. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, further comprising a lid for said container, said lid including an inlet port connected to said inlet tube.

94. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 93, wherein said lid further includes a vacuum port connected to a vacuum tube through which a vacuum is applied to said container for suctioning the fluids.

95. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 94, wherein said processor is programmed to determine whether said container includes said inner container.

96. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 95, wherein said processor determines whether said container includes said inner container based on a tare weight of said container.

97. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said device obtains information relating to a color of the fluids in said container.

98. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 97, wherein said processor is programmed to determine an amount of a blood component of the fluids based in part on the weight of the fluids determined by said device and the color of the fluids in said container.

99. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said device obtains information relating to a height of the fluids in said container.

100. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said device obtains information relating to at least one of an optical transmittance, an absorbance, and a reflectance of the fluids in said container.

101. The unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient of claim 68, wherein said device includes at least one camera positioned adjacent said container for obtaining at least one image of the fluids in said container.

Description:
Medical Waste Fluids Collecting Unit and Reporting System

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/366,422, filed July 25, 2016, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This document relates generally to monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from patients, and more specifically to a unit for quantifying, qualifying, tracking, and reporting information relating to such fluids within a reporting system.

BACKGROUND

[0003] A variety of medical waste fluids are generated during the course of patient care. The fluids, including bodily fluids, are collected in a variety of different medical settings including, but not limited to, suction during surgery, catheters, drains placed in body cavities, paracentesis aspirates, pleurocentesis aspirates, and liposuction procedures. Fluids obtained from a patient are generally collected in a container or vessel having a graduated scale used for determining a quantity of the fluids. Clinicians caring for the patients monitor and track these quantities as important parameters of medical data. In one example, a certain amount of urine is produced by the body per hour assuming normal hydration. A decrease in a monitored flow of urine could be an indication of dehydration and a need for additional intravenous fluid.

[0004] Generally speaking, fluid outputs are measured and recorded at periodic intervals for hospitalized patients and become an important component of the patient's medical record. Currently, healthcare workers measure and record data relating to fluid outputs using a manual process. The healthcare worker measures the fluid in the reservoir or container located in the patient's room and then records/transfers the data to a medical record. The medical record may be a patient's chart, electronic or otherwise. While systems exist to support the capture of such data stemming from this measurement capability, none of the systems do so automatically and none focus on fluid quantification, qualification, or reporting and tracking.

[0005] Accordingly, a need exists for a means of collecting medical waste fluids from patients that automatically quantifies and/or qualifies the fluids and displays this data for a healthcare professional. Even more, one or more patient units could also transmit that data to the healthcare professional or to a centralized portal or remote data storage system. In such a broader system, the remote data storage system may interface with an electronic medical record system and/or other systems such as a manufacturer or monitoring service as part. The present invention seeks to provide such a system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients. The system includes a unit associated with each of the one or more patients, and a remote data storage system for receiving data from the sending unit(s) for storage within the remote data storage system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In accordance with the purposes and benefits described herein, a system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients is provided. The system includes a unit associated with each of the one or more patients. Each unit includes a container for receiving the fluids from a patient via an inlet tube, a device for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in said container, a processor programmed to receive the information from the device and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a transmitter for transmitting data including the determined volume. A remote data storage system including a receiver for receiving the transmitted data for storage within the remote data storage system forms a part of the system.

[0007] In another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a display. In another, at least one of the volume of the fluids, container data, and system calibration information is displayed on the display. In still another, the display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

[0008] In yet another possible embodiment, the system includes a mobile device including the display. In other embodiments, the mobile device is a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer.

[0009] In still another possible embodiment, the system includes a memory associated with the processor for storing at least the volume of the fluids and the information obtained relating to at least one aspect of the fluids. [0010] In yet still another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a user interface for receiving user input. In another, the user input includes at least one of a date of container placement, a volume reporting interval, a location of the sending unit, and patient information.

[0011] In one other possible embodiment, the remote data storage system is in communication with a medical records system. In another, the remote data storage system includes a user interface in communication with the remote data storage system and the medical records system to facilitate exporting at least a portion of the data transmitted from the sending unit to the medical records system. In still another, the user interface displays at least a portion of the data transmitted from the sending unit.

[0012] In another possible embodiment, the remote data storage system is in communication with a monitoring service for reporting at least one of a diagnostic report, calibration information, and use information.

[0013] In still another possible embodiment, the remote data storage system includes a display. In another, the display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input. In still another, the system includes a mobile device including the display.

[0014] In yet another possible embodiment, the remote data storage system includes a user interface for receiving user input.

[0015] In one additional possible embodiment, the remote data storage system is a web based application.

[0016] In still another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a base for supporting the container and the device. In yet another, the base supports the display.

[0017] In still yet another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a housing and a guide extending from the housing for securing the inlet tube. In another, the guide secures the inlet tube in order to isolate the container from at least one force applied to at least one of the inlet tube.

[0018] In one additional possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a barcode. In another, the barcode includes information about the sending unit which can be linked to a patient record in the medical records system. In yet another, the barcode is a quick response code. In still another, the barcode is located on a housing of the sending unit and in another, the barcode is located on the container. In still another, the barcode is visible on a display associated with the sending unit.

[0019] In another possible embodiment, the system includes a barcode scanner.

[0020] In still another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a radio frequency identifier.

[0021] In yet another possible embodiment, the device is a load cell for determining a weight of the fluids in the container. In another, the load cell is attached to the container. In still yet another, the container is cylindrical in shape.

[0022] In one other possible embodiment, a liner is positioned within the container for receiving the fluids via the inlet tube. In another, the liner is disposable.

[0023] In yet another possible embodiment, the sending unit includes an inner container positioned within the container for receiving the fluids. In another, a lid for the container is provided and includes an inlet port connected to the inlet tube. In still another, the lid further including a vacuum port connected to a vacuum tube through which a vacuum is applied to the container for suctioning the fluids.

[0024] In still another possible embodiment, the processor is programmed to determine whether the container includes the inner container. In another, processor determines whether the container includes the inner container based on a tare weight of the container.

[0025] In yet still another possible embodiment, the device obtains information relating to a color of the fluids in the container. In still another, the processor is programmed to determine an amount of a blood component of the fluids based in part on the weight of the fluids determined by the device and the color of the fluids in the container.

[0026] In another possible embodiment, the device obtains information relating to a height of the fluids in the container. In still another, the device includes at least one camera positioned adjacent the container for obtaining at least one image of the fluids in the container. In yet another, the processor is programmed to analyze the at least one image to determine a height of the fluids in the container. [0027] In still another possible embodiment, the container includes a target.

[0028] In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, a system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients includes a sending unit associated with each of the one or more patients, a remote data storage system including a communicator for receiving the transmitted data for storage within the remote data storage system. The sending unit including a base supporting a container for receiving the fluids from a patient via an inlet tube, a load cell for obtaining a weight of the fluids and the container, a processor programmed to receive the weight from the load cell and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a communicator for transmitting data including the determined volume.

[0029] In another possible embodiment, the base supports a display. In another, the sending unit includes a housing supported by the base. In still another, a screen associated with the display is visible through an aperture in the housing.

[0030] In still another possible embodiment, the display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input. In another, the system includes a mobile device including a display. In yet another, the mobile device is a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer.

[0031] In yet another possible embodiment, the display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

[0032] In one additional possible embodiment, the sending unit includes a guide extending from the housing for securing the inlet tube.

[0033] In another possible embodiment, the remote data storage system is in communication with a medical records system. In another, the remote data storage system includes a user interface in communication with the remote data storage system and the medical records system to facilitate exporting at least a portion of the data transmitted from the sending unit to the medical records system. In still another, the remote data storage system includes a display and, in another, the display includes a touch screen for displaying information and receiving user input.

[0034] In yet another possible embodiment, the remote data storage system is a web based application. [0035] In still another possible embodiment, the load cell is attached to the container. In another, the container is cylindrical in shape.

[0036] In one other possible embodiment, a liner is positioned within the container for receiving the fluids via the inlet tube.

[0037] In another possible embodiment, an inner container is positioned within the container for receiving the fluids. In another, a lid for the container is provided having an inlet port connected to the inlet tube.

[0038] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a unit for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from a patient includes a base, a container supported by the base for receiving the fluids from the patient via an inlet tube, a device supported by the base for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in the container, a processor programmed to receive the information from the device and to determine a volume of the fluids, and a display.

[0039] In the following description, there are shown and described several possible embodiments of the system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients. As it should be realized, the system is capable of other, different embodiments and their several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the invention as set forth and described in the following claims. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions should be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0040] The accompanying drawing figures incorporated herein and forming a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients, and together with the description serve to explain certain principles thereof. In the drawing figures:

[0041] Figure 1 is an isometric view of a sending unit, including a container for collecting the medical waste fluids, of the system;

[0042] Figure 2 is an isometric view of the sending unit showing an inner container partially removed from the container; [0043] Figure 3 is an isometric view showing a side of the sending unit including a guide supporting an inlet tube;

[0044] Figure 4 is an isometric view of a base of the sending unit supporting a display, inlet tubing, a load cell, a camera, a power supply, and a circuit board mounted processor;

[0045] Figure 5 is an isometric view of a container having a target attached thereto;

[0046] Figure 6 is an isometric view of a rear of the base showing a bracket for mounting the sending unit to a wall;

[0047] Figure 7 illustrates an overall schematic of the sending unit; and

[0048] Figure 8 illustrates communication paths between sending units and a remote data storage unit including alternative components of the system.

[0049] Reference will now be made in detail to the present described embodiments of the system for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawing figures, wherein like numerals are used to represent like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0050] Reference is now made to Figure 1 which shows a unit 12 for monitoring medical waste fluids obtained from one or more patients. The unit 12 may be a standalone unit which displays and/or transmits information regarding the medical waste fluids to a healthcare professional or may form part of a broader system 10 wherein the unit displays and/or transmits the information to a remote data storage unit 14. Accordingly, the unit 12 is referred to throughout as a sending unit and the following description of the overall system 10 includes a description of the unit.

[0051] As indicated above, medical waste fluids flow out of patients by various means including suction systems, urinary catheters, wound drains, cerebral fluid drains (e.g., drains associated with dural or sub-dural brain hematomas or spinal taps), and other means. Further, medical processes involving dialysis systems and irrigation systems generate waste fluids. The described embodiment of the system 10 includes a sending unit 12 associated with each of the one or more patients and the remote data storage system 14. In other words, the system 10 is scalable and each patient being monitored by the system has a dedicated sending unit 12 capable of monitoring the medical waste fluid received from that patient and automatically transferring that information to the remote data storage system 14.

[0052] In the described embodiment, the sending unit 12 includes a base 14 supporting an outer housing 16. The outer housing 16 is shaped to receive and nestle with a collection vessel or container 18 when the container is associated with the base 14. The container 18 receives the waste fluids from the patient (P) via an inlet tube 20 as is more fully described below. As best shown in Figure 2, the container 18 includes inner and outer nested containers 19, 21. The containers 19, 21 are generally cylindrical in shape and are centrally supported on the base 14 by a bracket 15 shown in Figure 4. When so positioned, the container 18 is partially obscured by the housing 16 and protected by a cover or lid 22 as best shown in Figure 1.

[0053] In the described embodiment, the lid 22 seals both the inner and outer containers 19 and 21 and has two ports 24, 26. An outlet port 24 for a vacuum line 28, or vacuum tube, is connected via a receiver 30 to a pump 32 (e.g., a pump associated with a liposuction machine, medical suction systems found in hospital rooms, intensive care units, and operating rooms, or otherwise) and an inlet port 26 is connected by the inlet line 20, or tube for receiving the fluids from the patient. The ports 24, 26 may be covered by caps (not shown) until ready for use. In alternate embodiments, additional ports may be utilized. For instance, additional ports may be used to empty the container after a procedure or to create a string of containers. This would allow for overflow of waste fluids from one container into successive containers in the event a total volume of waste fluids exceeded the volume of one or more containers.

[0054] In the described embodiment, the inner container 19 is thin walled and intended to be discarded with the waste fluids. In certain other embodiments, the inner container 19 could even be a liner that supports easy disposal and replacement. The outer container 21, on the other hand, is a durable material suitable for a negative pressure vacuum from medical suction systems and is intended to remain with the base 14. Both the inner and outer containers 19 and 21 are made of a clear material and may include graduations to allow the user to determine a quantity of waste fluids or its components. In alternate embodiments, a single container 18 may be utilized, generally as described above, with the single container being disposable. [0055] Both the vacuum line 28 extending between the container 18 and the pump 32 and the inlet line 20 extending between the container 18 and the patient are immobilized. In other words, both lines are removably secured to ensure that neither traction applied thereto nor the weight of the lines influences a determination of a weight of the container 18. Of course, any type of device sufficient to secure the lines may be utilized whether independently supported or supported by the sending unit 12. In addition, all lines into and out of the container 18 are positioned such that they are prevented from contacting the surface of the outer container which could affect weight measurements.

[0056] As shown in Figures 1 and 3, tubing guides 34 are positioned on opposing, exterior surfaces of the housing 16 in the described embodiment. In this manner, the inlet tube 20 extending between the container 18 and the patient can be secured on either side of the housing 16 as a matter of convenience. As shown in Figure 3, the guide 34 includes a series of three spool-shaped members 36 through which the tubing 20 is woven and held immobile by friction. In this manner, the tubing 20 is easily secured by a user (without tools) in position against the housing 16 to isolate the container 18 from forces applied to one or both of the lines as described above. In this secured position, the tubing 10 is further secured adjacent a tubing detector switch 38 which confirms securement of the tubing in the guide 34. Activation of the tubing detector switch 38 ensures that the tubes are properly secured so as not to influence measurements before the sending unit 12 is allowed to obtain information relating to the waste fluids. Of course, other types of guides may be used to secure the tubing and various detectors may be utilized to ensure the tubing is secured.

[0057] As shown in Figure 4, the vacuum tube 28 extending between the container 18 and the pump 32, or a hospital suction system, is likewise secured. In the described embodiment, the vacuum tube 28 is connected to a T-shaped fitting 40 attached to the base 14. A tube 42 extends from the T-shaped fitting 40 through a vacuum shutoff valve 44 supported by the base 14 and terminates at receiver 30. As indicated above, the pump 32, or a hospital suction system, is connected to the receiver 30 and provides the necessary vacuum for system operation. An additional tube 45 extends from the T-shaped fitting 40 and provides a vacuum to the space between the inner and outer containers 19, 21 to equalize pressure across the wall of the thinner interior container. The bracket 15 provides a path for this equalization line. [0058] Although only generally noted above, a graduated scale 50 may be provided on the container 18 to allow the user to visually quantify the fluids as shown in Figure 5. Different scales may be provided to correspond with the various types of containers which may be used with the system 10. In other words, one graduated scale could apply to a container used for quantification only and another graduated scale could apply to a container used in qualitative analysis, for example. In alternate embodiments, at least a portion of the container 18 may be transparent or translucent, or the entire container may be transparent or translucent.

[0059] Returning to Figure 4, a display 52 forms a part of the sending unit 12 and is attached to a wall 62 extending from a bottom 60 of the base 14. The display 52 is located at a convenient viewing angle and working position for the user and may be mounted for rotation in one or more axes in alternate embodiments. Preferably, the display 52 includes a touch screen 54 which displays information relating the waste fluids in the container 18. In addition, the touch screen 54 is effectively a user interface offering varying display screens including soft key buttons for receiving user inputs. Volume, container data such as the last date changed, calibration information, and other system status information may be displayed by the display 52.

[0060] The touch screen 54 or other user input means allows the user to monitor and adjust parameters. New container placement, volume reporting intervals, location of the sending unit, such as the patient room number or patient name, may be accessed and modified via this user interface. In other words, the touch screen 54 accepts user inputs and displays information output from the system 10. In an alternate embodiment, the sending units 12 may not be equipped with a user interface and all control information may be accessed via two-way communication with the remote data storage system 14.

[0061] In still another alternate embodiment, the display 52 may form part of a mobile device, such as, a smart phone, a personal digital assistant, or a laptop computer or tablet. In such a mobile setting, information relating to the waste fluids in the container 18 may be transmitted from a transmitter supported by the base 14 to the mobile device using wireless technology as is known in the art. In an alternate embodiment, such additional information may be utilized by a processor or the like supported by the base and data may be transmitted to the mobile device, or combinations of information and results transmitted. In other words, processing of the information may occur before or after transmission to the mobile device. [0062] Returning to Figure 4, the base 14 is shown with the cover 16 removed generally revealing the vacuum tubes, support system, and display 52, as described above, and other components which will now be described. As shown, the base 14 is supported by feet 55 which include non-skid pads on bottom surfaces thereof in the described embodiment but could include wheels, casters, suction cups, etc. in alternate embodiments. In one alternate embodiment, the feet may be levelling feet in order to accommodate levelling of the base 14. A bubble level or similar mechanism may be utilized to assist in levelling the base.

[0063] In another alternate embodiment shown in Figure 6, the base 14 may include a bracket 58 attached to the base 14 to allow the sending unit 12 to be mounted on a rolling suction canister stand, a liposuction pump, a wall of the patient's room, an IV pole, a bed rail, or anywhere else depending on where the unit is desired to be mounted. The bracket 68 shown in Figure 6 is a wall mounting bracket designed to engage standard hospital wall receivers.

[0064] Returning to Figure 4, a device 56 for obtaining information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids in the container 18 is supported by the base 14 of the sending unit 12. In the described embodiment, the device 56 is a load cell which weighs the container and from which waste fluid volumes may be determined. Of course, alternate embodiments may include any type of device capable of weighing the container and the fluids received therein. As best shown in Figure 4, the load cell 56 is attached to a wall 62, extending upward from a base 60. A bracket 15 supports the container 18 and contacts the load cell 56 transferring the weight of the container to the load cell for measurement.

[0065] In addition to quantifying the fluids captured in the container 18, the system 10 may also be utilized for qualifying the fluids in the container. In other words, the system 10 may be utilized for component determination and/or fluid tracking in other settings. These may include general, orthopedic, gynecologic, otolaryngology, and other surgical procedures which typically involve blood loss. In conjunction with the needs associated with these alternate procedures, the system 10 may provide an accurate volume of a blood component, for example, of the waste fluids collected in the container 18 for at least monitoring, and possibly for replenishing purposes. The system 10 may further be utilized to provide an accurate volume of a blood component of fluids collected from a chest tube, wall suction containers in patient rooms, and/or urinary catheters, etc. [0066] Generally speaking, the information received from the device may include any aspect of the waste fluids. In the described embodiment, a second device 68, or instrument, is utilized to obtain information relating to the color of the fluids and/or a height (volume) of the fluids in the container 18. As shown in Figure 4, a camera 68 acts as the second device and is generally positioned adjacent the container 18. In this position, the camera 68 enjoys an unobstructed view of a side of the container 18. In alternate embodiments, one or more additional cameras and/or mirrors may be utilized as part of the device. The use of multiple cameras allows for image averaging which increases accuracy and also allows the system 10 to obtain an average height of the fluids in the event the system is not level. It is worth noting here that the cover 22 prevents ambient light from interfering with the view of the container 18 as seen by the camera 68. In alternate embodiments, supplemental lighting may be provided inside of the cover 22 to improve the images captured by the camera(s) for use in obtaining information relating to the fluids in the container 18.

[0067] In another alternate embodiment, a device may be positioned adjacent a top of the container 18 (e.g., above the container). For instance, a lid of the container may be transparent or clear allowing for a non-invasive sensing of the height of the fluids therein. In other words, the level of the fluids may be sensed using a non-invasive level sensing device as is known in the art. For example, a level sensing device may transmit a signal into the fluids and determine a height based on a signal reflected from a fluids-air interface.

[0068] Alternatively, the device may include at least one optical sensor positioned adjacent the container 18. Preferably, at least one corresponding transmitter would be utilized. The at least one optical sensor and transmitter pairs may be utilized to obtain information relating to an aspect of the fluids in the container 18. In one other embodiment, the at least one optical transmitter may utilize a red beam and/or an infrared beam and the at least one optical receiver includes a red receiver and/or an infrared receiver to obtain the information. Other embodiments may utilize devices using the full light spectrum from infrared through visible light and up to ultraviolet light for obtaining information about the waste fluids.

[0069] As eluded to above and shown in Figure 4, the base 14 is used to support at least a portion of the electronic components of the system 10. More specifically, the base 14 supports a circuit board 70 in the described embodiment. A processor 72 and associated circuitry are supported by the circuit board 70 and receive information from the load cell 56 and the camera 68. The information received from the load cell 56 and the camera 68 is stored in a memory device 82. In the described embodiment, the information includes at least the weight of the container 18 and images obtained by the camera 68. A power supply 74, connected to line power via a power cord (not shown), is supported by the base 14 and provides required power to the circuit board 70/processor 72, load cell 56, camera 68, and display 52. In alternate embodiments, the system 10 may utilize a battery power source and/or a battery back-up power source in the event of a power outage.

[0070] With reference to Fig 6, a general schematic of the system 10 is provided. The microprocessor 72, or controller or like device, is provided and receives inputs from the load cell 56 and the camera 68 in the described embodiment. In other words, the processor 72 is programmed to receive the information relating to at least one aspect of the fluids and to determine the volume of fluids in the container 18 based in part on the weight of the fluids determined by the load cell 56. The load cell 56 provides an analog signal indicative of the weight of the fluids in the container 18. The analog signal is amplified by amplifier 78 and converted from an analog signal to a digital signal in converter 80. The camera 68 provides a digital signal indicative of both the color and height of the fluids in the container 18. If an optical sensor is utilized in an alternate embodiment, the same amplifier 78 and analog to digital conversion circuitry 80 may be used to obtain information from the sensor.

[0071] From those signal inputs, the processor 72 can determine an amount of waste fluids in the container 18 and a blood component within the fluids based in part on information relating to the color, height, or optical properties of the fluids. In other words, this information is used for fluid quantifying and qualifying in the other settings involving blood loss. In these alternate embodiments, the system 10 would provide an accurate volume of a blood component of the fluids collected in the container 18 for at least monitoring and possible replenishing purposes.

[0072] As noted above, the processor 66 is programmed to analyze the signals from the camera 68, including the at least one image, to determine the height of the fluids in the container 18. In an alternate embodiment, the system 10 may include a digital pattern recognition analysis system to analyze the at least one image from the camera 68 to determine the height of the fluids in the container 18. [0073] Once the processor determines at least a volume of the fluids in the container 18, volume data along with a time of the acquisition thereof may be stored in the memory device 82 and/or transmitted via a transmitter 84 (e.g., a wireless or wired data link) to a receiver 85 associated with the remote data storage unit 14. The remote data storage unit 14 may also be referred to as a centralized data harbor or hub. In addition, alerts may be transmitted to healthcare team when the when the container 18 is full or nearly full. Some fluids may be solidified for disposal, and the system 10 could include an automatic means of dispensing a solidifying agent. In addition to the information relating the waste fluids, the system 10 may also be programmed to automatically transmit or report diagnostic and use information to a manufacturer 94 (shown by arrow B).

[0074] As broadly introduced above, the second component of the system 10 is the remote data storage system 14. The remote data storage system 14 is a computerized data storage and retrieval system which receives communications via a wireless or wired data link from one or more sending units 12. In the present embodiment, two-way communications occur between the one or more sending units 12 and the remote data storage system 14 as shown by bi-directional arrows A. The remote data storage system 14 includes an interface 90 for the healthcare team to access and graphically track the data. The interface 90 also utilizes two-way communications between the remote data storage system 14 and the interface as shown by bi-directional arrows B.

[0075] The remote data storage system 14 in the described embodiment is a web-based application but the system may exist on a dedicated computer or service in alternate embodiments. The remote data storage system 14 also includes utilities or applications to export the data to one or more electronic medical records systems 92 as shown by bi-directional arrows C. In the described embodiment, the exporting of data occurs automatically at predetermined times but data can also be exported at the user's request. Further, the remote data storage system 14 can collect and report system diagnostic and calibration information from the individual sending units 12. Such diagnostic and calibration information may be provided to a manufacturer or monitoring service 94, as shown by arrow D, or may be retained by the care provider.

[0076] In the described embodiment, the remote data storage system 14 displays information from selected sending units 12. For example, the user could select each of the sending units 12 located within a particular nursing unit or ward within a hospital. Real time data as reported by the selected sending units 12 is displayed and tracked by the remote data storage system software. Standard nursing protocols generally track patient "ins and outs" by shift and the software would follow this standard format. Likewise, the reporting interval of the individual sending units 12 may be adjusted by two-way communication with the sending units via the software. Alerts when containers are nearly full will be displayed on the interface 90. Individual sending unit diagnostic information may be accessed at will.

[0077] Barcode scanning may also be integrated with the sending unit 12 in one of several configurations. Each sending unit 12 may have a barcode 96 on its housing 16. This would enable the healthcare workers to scan the unit to link it to the patient identification in the electronic medical record system 92. In an alternate embodiment, the display screen may provide both identification and volume data by displaying the data in a barcode or a machine readable format. A further alternate embodiment includes a barcode scanner in communication with the sending unit 12 which would allow scanning of patient identification or other information. Such a scanner could be attached to the sending unit 12 or could wirelessly communicate with the sending unit.

[0078] In use, a tare is accomplished to subtract the weight of the container so that the volume of fluids is determined by weight. The system 10 makes the volume determination automatically at periodic intervals, as determined by the user. Alternately, the user may request a volume reading at any time or at specified time(s).

[0079] Fluids volume may also be determined by means other than weight. As described above, an optical system including one or more cameras and machine vision may detect a fluids level. In a further alternate embodiment, a capacitance system may be utilized to detect fluid volume. In yet another alternate embodiment, an electrically energized coil surrounding the outer container may be utilized. When energized, an electromagnetic field will be generated which will pass through the ionic fluids within the container. The ionic fluids will have a detectable effect on the electrical field which when measured may be used to calculate fluid volume or other properties. Lastly, any other means of fluid volume measurement may be utilized in accordance with the invention. Depending on the method of measurement, additional sensors may be employed to detect whether the system is level or un-level. For example, in the case of an optical measurement, the degree of tilt of the system may be electronically computed and used as a correction factor for the optically determined fluids level. [0080] The optical system may also be used qualify or characterize the fluids in other capacities, such as the amount of blood in the sample as described above. In the present embodiment, a target system, shown in Figure 5, is provided within the container 18 to assist in machine vision to increase contrast associated with the top of the fluid column. The target system may be printed on the inner or outer container 19, 21 or may be contained internally within the inner container.

[0081] In an alternate embodiment, the sending units provide additional information about the contents of the body fluids by incorporating sensors for both weight and volume. In accordance with the principles outlined in PCT application WO 2016/037086 Al (the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference), a combination sensing system which measures both volume and weight is used to characterize the reservoir contents by means of a density determination. Each of the possible sensing modalities may be utilized including optical measurements of fluids column height, color, or light transmittance and absorbance. For example, combined sensor technology could determine the amount of blood present in a suction aspirate consisting of a mixture of blood and saline irrigation fluid. Blood has a higher density than saline. By directly measuring fluids column height to generate a volume measurement and separately measuring weight, a density calculation will yield the quantities of blood and saline in the mixture.

[0082] The foregoing has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the embodiments to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled.