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Healthcare Plan Information

Presbyterian Health Plan Patient Safety Initiatives

Presbyterian Hospitals and Medical Group Invest in Better Technology for your safetyHospitals that are on the leading edge of improving safety for patients are investing in better technology, and Presbyterian is one of the nation's leaders in this effort. Presbyterian Hospital and Kaseman Hospital are investing $25 million in patient safety.

Knowing that nationally, medication errors account for 50% of patient injuries in hospitals, Presbyterian Hospital's entire medication delivery process is being automated - something only a handful of hospitals in the nation are doing in order to create the safest environment for patients. Presbyterian has brought three technology-based systems online to deliver medicine to patients in their care.

The first system, ROBOT-Rx , is used to select the right dose of the right prescription drug from the pharmacy shelf. Studies show that, over time, ROBOT-Rx is more accurate and reliable with this task than a human pharmacist.

Next, the medication is delivered to AcuDose-Rx cabinets, which are located near every nurse's station. Like an ATM machine, nurses punch in a code for each patient and then get the medicine that's needed. The Acu-Dose Rx cabinets limit the variety of drugs to just those that are needed for the patients in that area.

AcuScan-Rx (picture below) provides a third and final check to ensure that the right patient is getting the right drug. Before the nurse administers the drug, he or she will scan the bar codes found on the patient's wristband, the drug and the nurse's own badge. AcuScan-Rx then confirms that all three codes are correct.

After all of these checks are complete, the patient is given the medicine needed to improve his or her health.

Presbyterian recently concluded a multi-year study at Presbyterian and Presbyterian Kaseman Hospitals, which measured the impact of process redesign and the investment in technology (Robot-Rx, AcuDose-Rx and AcuScan-Rx0 on our medication delivery system error rate. The study results indicated considerable improvement in many areas. Overall we achieved a 70.7% improvement in our medication delivery processes.

"This is significant and possible only through the tremendous team effort by all our colleagues at the hospitals," says Lauren Madigan, administrative director. Some of the specific results from the post-system redesign study, conducted in November 2003, include the elimination of errors related to administering the improper dose, drugs that are expired and those where the integrity of the dose form has been compromised.

"One exciting finding is the 96% decrease in transcription errors, which did not involve technology, rather the hard work and effort of our staff," says Madigan. According to Madigan, there is much more work to be done to achieve nationally excellent results. "As we look ahead to new challenges, we are confident that we will meet each on with equal or greater success," she adds.

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