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  • Closing the Loop" on Medication Safety"

  • What YOU Can Do

    Know Your Drugs:

    Lifespan's four affiliated hospitals (Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children's hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Bradley Hospital and Newport Hospital) utilize a system of automated medication dispensing. Installed in all patient units, this "closed-loop" medication system is designed to enhance patient safety and reduce the human opportunity for error.

    It helps to ensure that the right patient receives the correct dosage of prescribed medication at the right time.

    Here's how Lifespan's integrated clinical information system for medication safety works:

    • All medications for every inpatient are ordered electronically.
    • Medications correspond to an identification barcode on the patient's bracelet.
    • The Lifespan medication system checks automatically for minimum and maximum dosage amounts, a patient's allergies, or other drug contraindications.
    • Automated dispensing units prevent nurses from accessing medication until a pharmacist has reviewed and approved the order.
    • A warning is automatically triggered if there are questions about the medication medication is dispensed until it is reviewed.
    • The system reports this information to the administering physician and to the hospital's pharmacist. Both must approve the medication before it is dispensed to the patient.
    • Before the medication is to be administered, the nurse or physician engages a device at the patient's bedside. The patient's bracelet barcode is scanned. If the medication for that patient and the dosage correspond, a green light appears on the electronic device, indicating the medication can be dispensed. If there is an error, a red light appears and no medication is administered.
    • The information is transmitted to a secure dispensing facility where a single dosage of the correct medication is automatically labeled and prepared for dispensing.
    • A report is generated that becomes part of the patient's record and is reviewed daily by the patient's health care team.

    Proven Results Make Us a National Leader

    A study prepared by a team of Lifespan doctors, pharmacists, information technicians and medical directors was published in the September 2007 issue of the American Journal of Health-Systems Pharmacists. The findings of that study proved that the "closed-loop" system works to increase patient safety throughout Lifespan's multi-hospital health care system and that medication errors decreased.

    We encourage you to submit any questions or concerns you may have about medication safety at Lifespan hospitals.