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Feature Article

Medication Safety: Make a List. Share It. Keep It Updated.

Each year, more than 1.5 million harmful drug interactions occur in the United States. A major portion of these come from communication errors between patients and their health care team.

Pharmacists at Samaritan Health Services are working to ensure the safety of patients and avoid problems that can lead to medication errors. To this end, a new medication safety program is being introduced at Samaritan Health Services’ Emergency Departments in Albany, Corvallis and Lebanon.

As part of the new safety program, patients who need to be admitted to the hospital from the Emergency Department meet with a pharmacy staff member to review and confirm all medications. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to participate in this review.

“Our medication review program assures that we have accurate and updated medication lists for our patients,” said Stacey Olstad, PharmD, Medication Reconciliation Coordinator with Samaritan.

After receiving a patient’s medication list, Samaritan pharmacists and pharmacy technicians use the electronic medical record system to record and review medications. Pharmacy staff check for possible drug interactions, then share that information with medical providers and nurses at the hospital.

Samaritan Pharmacy staff also work with a patient’s pharmacy or care facility to resolve any discrepancies before medication is sent home.

“We want our patients to feel confident and comfortable with their medications,” Olstad said.

Patients play an important role in medication safety. They are being encouraged to keep an updated list of all medications, and to share that list with their medical providers and family.

“People should write down all medications, including dosage information, and share this list with caregivers, family and loved ones,” said Olstad.

“If you get a new medication or stop taking one,” Olstad said, “update your list and share it again.”

List Your Medications

Write down a list of your medications – how much and how often you use them.

Share Your Medication List

Give this list to your caregivers, family and loved ones. Share a copy of this list with your doctors and pharmacists, and carry a copy with you.

Update Your List & Share Again

If you get a new medication or stop taking one, update your list and share it again.

Learn more about the services Samaritan Pharmacies offer.