Magazine article Corrections Forum

Innovations in Inmate Medical Services

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Innovations in Inmate Medical Services

Article excerpt

Correctional medical facilities have undergone many changes in recent years. Some of the changes have ccurred in patient records management, drug and alcohol testing products, HIV testing, medication packaging and dispensing, and mental health services. The patients benefit the most from these changes, of course, but the employees also gain from the time-saving and safety factors involved in many of the new products and services.

Drug and alcohol testing

Drug and alcohol testing products are numerous, but those that provide quick yet correct results are better suited for use in a correctional facility, where time is of essence. Some testing products may require an inmate transfer to a medical facility for testing, which can be expensive and can cause safety issues.

"Roche offers easy-to-use one step drug and alcohol testing products, which provide fast and accurate test results, ideal for any situation where quickly determining the drug or alcohol status of a person is required," explained Keith Snyder, marketing manager at Roche Diagnostics Corp., Indianapolis, IN. "Our rapid drugs-of-abuse testing product portfolio include the OnTrak TesTcup(R) and OnTrak TesTstik product lines, which are urine-based drug tests, and the OnSite Alcohol Device, which is a saliva-based alcohol test. New in 2001, Roche offers an integrated substance abuse screening program called TesTrak, which includes onsite drug testing, collection laboratory confirmation, electronic results reporting and data management."

"Roche's drug testing products offer correctional facilities a cost-- effective method to quickly detect drug and alcohol abuse," according to Snyder.

"In less than five minutes, the OnTrak TesTcup and OnTrak TesTstik can simultaneously detect up to seven illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and PCP. OnTrak TesTcup and OnTrak TesTstik devices are easy-to-use, one-step tests that require no special handling and can be administered by correctional personnel, "said Snyder.

These two devices also eliminate the need for inmate transfer to a medical facility, and eliminate the need for onsite laboratory equipment, which is expensive to staff and maintain.

Specific Gravity

The measurement of urine specific gravity is useful as a health test to screen for potential dehydration in patients. In addition, the measurement of urine specific gravity is also vital to drug testing in corrections, parole and probations settings. "In drug use tests [for illegal substances], the measurement of urine specific gravity is a qualitative tool that is routinely used to identify a sample that has been flushed, or is too dilute," explained Richard F. Brown, sales manager, MISCO Refractometers, Cleveland, OH.

"Many of the traditional analog refractometers have accuracy and repeatability problems due to their lack of temperature compensation. Users are not comfortable with bringing potentially dangerous urine close to their faces to take readings. The DFR eliminates all of these problems, providing safety as well as accuracy and objectivity.

The DFR also removes subjectivity associated with reading analog scales in look-through type testers. Most readings from traditional handheld analog refractometers are somewhat subjective and can be interpreted differently from one user to another. An individual users interpretation of where the boundary, or shadow, line crosses a scale can lead to misreading or misinterpretation on analog instruments. The MISCO DFR is a modestly-priced instrument that eliminates guesswork by taking measurements with microprocessor-controlled precision and instantly displaying results digitally. There is no need to decipher or interpret small divisions on scales," said Brown.

Urine-Based HIV Testing

HIV-testing in correctional facilities can be difficult due to the fact that most of the tests are invasive. …

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