Medication Safety at EvergreenHealth

The health and safety of our patients is the top priority at EvergreenHealth.

That's why we have invested in the latest technology to help prevent medication errors and guarantee the "Five Rights" of medication administration:

  • the Right patient
  • the Right medication
  • the Right dose
  • the Right time
  • the Right route (oral, topical, etc.)

Patient Barcoding

Each hospital patient wears a barcoded wristband that corresponds to a computerized record of their medication history, including allergies and side-effects.

image of bedside barcode reading at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WA.When it's time to administer medications, the nurse scans the barcode on the medication and the barcode on the patient's wristband to ensure a match. If any one of a number of qualifying factors do not match, several screen warnings appear to alert the nurse to double check, verify or call the doctor - before administering the medication.

Administered medications are automatically logged into the patient's electronic chart, eliminating the possibility that medication will be given more than once.

Automated Medication Dispensing Cabinets

Automated medication dispensing cabinets on the patient units eliminate the most common errors that occur with controlled substances, such as pain-killing narcotics.

With identifying passwords and barcoding, nurses are only allowed access to the selected medication. If the patient's record lists an allergy to that medication, the cabinet will not allow access.

Computerized Physician Order Entry

image of safety lock medicine cabinet at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WA.This powerful tool enables the automated entry of physician orders with the pharmacy, lab and radiology. The system eliminates handwritten, paper-based orders and provides physicians the safest method of ordering treatments.

All physician orders are automatically checked for a variety of contraindications, including food, drug and environmental allergies, duplicate ingredients and therapy, and minimum/maximum dose checking.

The Patient's Role

Patients can also help us prevent medication errors.

  • Provide your physician with a current list of your prescription medicines, vitamins, herbals and supplements. 
  • Know what your medications are for.
  • Make sure family members know your medications.
  • Ask your physician what medication you are receiving.
  • Make sure the physician or nurse checks your wristband and asks your name before giving you medicine.
  • Don't be afraid to speak up if you think you are about to get the wrong medicine.
  • Tell your nurse or physician if you don't feel well after receiving a medicine. If you think you are having a reaction or experiencing side effects, ask for help immediately.

Video:  Medication Safety at EvergreenHealth

EvergreenHealth has many safeguards in place to make sure our patients receive the right medicine, the right dose, at the right time. Pharmacist Roya Pinski, PharmD, walks you through the safety measures.