Auckland medical device start-up Veriphi is raising $2 million through crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect to complete its hospital trials and expand internationally.
The company has developed a laser technology product that automatically verifies the identity and concentration of a drug in intravenous medication as it is administered, to reduce hospital error.
Veriphi founder and managing director Greg Shanahan said intravenous medication errors were twice as likely to harm patients as other drug administration methods.
A report from the Institute of Medicine found that in US hospitals, medication error caused an estimated 7000 deaths a year and cost about US$3.5 billion to US$5.6b a year ($4.8b to $7.8b).
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"There was a mass fatality in 2012 where more than 60 people were killed and 700 injured from a case of drug contamination emanating from one hospital in Boston," Shanahan said.
"This [solution] could potentially become the gold standard for drug verification, and prevent a lot of damage."
The system works by placing the consumable containing the drug into the beam of the analyser.
The laser beam passes through the drug, to a detector which compares the drug's optical signature to those from a known library. The analyser then alerts the clinician if the drug or its concentration is not what was intended.
The solution is being trialled in an Auckland hospital and Shanahan is in talks with several companies in the US.
The capital raise has already secured more than $500,000 in investment and closes on April 5.