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Noble receives award for reconciling and communicating

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WESTFIELD-"This award underscores Noble's commitment to providing the highest level of care for our patients,"Brenda Theriaque, RN of Noble Hospital said to Reminder Publications last week.

At the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA)'s 70th annual meeting, MHA in conjunction with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors (MCPME) recognized Noble Hospital for excellence in patient safety.

"Massachusetts was the first state to get this going. Three years ago it was decided that hospitals would reconcile medications' lists," said Theriaque, who accepted the award on behalf of Noble.

The national definition for reconciling medication lists is comparing what medications the patient is taking at the time of admission with what the hospital is providing. Differentiating between a patient who is able to respond and asked for their complete list of medications. If the patient cannot be the source of the information, the hospital puts into place an alternative way of getting the information.

Noble was one of four Massachusetts acute care hospitals recognized for their success by the MHA and the MCPME in implementing two MHA and MCPME initiatives that include reconciling medications and communicating critical test results.

A task force implementing the new standards was initiated at Noble and was driven by the motto "do it and do it right," said Theriaque.

The hospital started implementing the program in the Emergency Department, according to Theriaque, because this is 99% of the first point of entry for families and patients of Noble.

Theriaque said that the Hospital implemented new policies such as hiring a pharmacy technician who looks over all patients' medication lists and that within 24 hours the Hospital requires that the list be at 100%.

Theriaque said that overall this is a patient safety goal that will alter the patients' in-hospital stay time.

"It is a way to prevent medication errors in the future," Theriaque said.

The MCPME and MHA, with support from a federal grant through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) , created a set of best practices for reconciling medications and communicating critical test results. MHA and the MCPME then provided support through a series of statewide patient safety collaboratives to help hospitals implement these practices. At the end of the Collaborative period, MHA and the MCPME invited hospitals to apply for the one-time only Excellence in Patient Safety Award.