St. John's Implements New Technology that Lowers Medication Error Risk and Boosts Patient Safety


St. John’s Medical Center’s new Paragon Medication Administration point-of-care application will help hospital caregivers improve patient safety and prevent medication errors. The system, planned to be deployed by May 9, allows nurses to use a handheld bar code scanning device that verifies the “five rights”: right patient, right drug, right dose, right route, and right time). It also provides an online clinical flow sheet with the patient’s vital signs, medication profile, administration, medical history, and care comments. “Not only will the implementation of Paragon Medication Administration help us comply with government regulations, more importantly it will ensure that we continually reduce the possibility of errors and improve patient care,” says Gary Trauner, Chief Operating Officer.

This system will help nurses at St. John’s prevent medication errors by:

• Providing warnings and alerts before nurses give a patient medication
• Scanning a three-way, bar-coded match of the nurse’s ID badge, patient’s ID and the medication
• Gathering real-time information in an accurate and legible medication administration record that all the patient’s caregivers can access
• Freeing nurses from manual paperwork so they can spend more time on patient care

Paragon Medication Administration offers many benefits for St. John’s health care providers and patients. First, by ensuring the “five rights,” it helps protect against medication errors. It also fosters patient safety by delivering real-time alerts and warnings for new, changed, or cancelled medication orders. It improves communication among the health care team and interfaces with pharmacy, physician, nursing and automation solutions. It also improves documentation required by regulatory agencies.

Deploying the Paragon Medication Administration system is one of the hospital’s initial objectives under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was enacted in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Under HITECH, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified Electronic Health Record technology and use it to achieve specified objectives. St. John’s Medical Center is deploying Paragon Medication Administration as an initial objective in meeting that goal.

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