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Ms. Zipperer was a founding staff member of the National Patient Safety Foundation as their information projects manager and has also been Cybrarian for AHRQ Patient Safety Network since its inception. We spoke with her about the role of librarians in patient safety.
Medication safety in hospitals depends on the successful execution of a complex system of scores of individual tasks that can be categorized into five stages: ordering or prescribing, preparing, dispensing, transcribing, and monitoring the patient's response. Many of these tasks lend themselves to technologic tools. Over the past 20 years, technology has played an increasingly larger role toward achieving the five rights of medication safety: getting the right dose of the right drug to the right patient using the right route and at the right time.
Eric G. Poon, MD, MPH, is Director of Clinical Informatics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Poon’s research has focused on using health information technology to improve patient safety. He oversees the development and implementation of clinical applications including computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode-assisted electronic medication administration record, and was lead author on the first rigorous study demonstrating the impact of a bar coding system in a hospital pharmacy.
Patients have three roles in improving patient safety: helping to ensure their own safety, working with health care organizations to improve safety at the organization and unit level, and advocating as citizens for public reporting and accountability of hospital and health system performance. The following case illustrates how patients can help ensure their own safety.
Allan Frankel, MD, is Director of Patient Safety for Partners HealthCare, the merged entity of Harvard hospitals and clinics that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Frankel, an anesthesiologist by training, has been a key member of the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, co-chairing numerous Adverse Drug Events and Patient Safety Collaboratives. Dr. Frankel's work in patient safety focuses on leadership training, high reliability in health care, teamwork development, and cultural change. We asked Dr.