Making sure that each patient gets the right amount of the right medication at the right time is a key part of our commitment to patient safety at Rhode Island Hospital.
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Members of the pharmacy team are actively involved in providing pharmacy leadership throughout the state and nationally. We lead the Pharmacy Committee for a large NCI-funded national cancer research organization, Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), and participate on the advisory board for the Institute of Safe Medication Practices. Many of our pharmacists have served on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Society of Health-System Pharmacists (RISHP), including several who have served as president.
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Rhode Island Hospital helps to ensure quality medication dispensing by embracing the latest technological innovations. All patients receive the correct dosage of their medication via the "closed loop" system designed to enhance patient safety and reduce the human opportunity for error. This system helps to ensure that the right patient receives the right medication at the right time.
This "closed loop" system operates at the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children's Hospital each have pharmacy staff working around the clock to ensure that patients receive the correct dosages of medication.
Patients receiving intravenous (IV) medications and fluids are administered these medications via a device known as a smart infusion technology pump, which has been adopted by the hospital as a best practice to ensure quality outcomes.
The smart infusion technology device is embedded with a programmable drug library which controls and records the amount of medication dispensed to the patient intravenously. The device prevents the patient from receiving an underdose or overdose of the medication by warning doctors and nursing staff immediately to cancel and reprogram the pump if an error is detected. This smart infusion device ensures that all patients receive the correct dosage of the medication according to prescriptive guidelines.
Hospital physicians have the option to assign their patient's anticoagulation to be managed by a clinical pharmacist. Patients who require blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin sodium) need close monitoring of their medication dose and blood lab work. Our pharmacists are specially trained to manage these patients through hospital-approved protocols, providing an invaluable service to the medical staff and an enhanced level of patient safety.
The days of illegible medication orders being scribbled by doctors on prescription forms have long ago been replaced by a more efficient method known as a physician order management system that is in use at Rhode Island Hospital and at all Lifespan hospitals.
This computerized system allows doctors and pharmacists to order and fulfill medications for patients promptly and eliminates the risk of prescription error due to illegibility. Doctors throughout the hospital use this computerized system to enter prescriptive information, a patient's medical history, allergies, or other pertinent medical facts.
As with the smart infusion technology devices, this system is equipped with alerts to notify doctors, nurses and pharmacists if the dosage is too high or low, or if the information has been incorrectly entered. The technology systems at the hospital are dynamic and are frequently updated with additional alerts, if necessary, so that patients are kept safe and quality of care is maintained.