Tools

Medication Safety

The right medication at the right time

Tufts Medical Center is committed to improving medication safety and educating patients and their families / caregivers about safe medication practices.

A drawing of pills for Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston, MA.We have introduced a new medication system that uses bar coding and computer technology in the pharmacy and at the patient's beside to help eliminate medication errors. When our pharmacists fill a medication order, the computer system checks the patient’s medical record for possible conflicts such as allergies or interactions with other medications. In hospital rooms, our nurses bring a mobile medication cart with a wireless laptop computer and an electronic scanner to the patient's bedside. If a potential error is detected, the computer immediately alerts the nurse, and the appropriate corrections are made.

Infusion pumps have been used in hospitals for more than 30 years to administer intravenous drugs and fluids. Since their introduction they have evolved into devices that can significantly reduce the risk of medication errors. We use sophisticated "smart pumps" to help intercept medication errors. These computer-assisted devices can prevent the delivery of a medication dose that is different from the dose ordered by the doctor.

What patients can do

  • Make sure you know your medications, how to take them, and why you take them. 
  • Keep an updated list of your medications in your wallet or purse. Download patient medication list
  • The list should include:
    • Name of the medication
    • Dose
    • How often you take it
    • Why you take it
    • Any vitamins and over-the-counter (OTC) products
    • Medication allergies
    • Name and telephone number of your pharmacy
  • Review your medication list with physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
  • Remind your health care provider to help you update your medication list when medications are started or stopped.  
  • Ask your pharmacist any questions you have. The pharmacist will explain what your medication is for and check if it is safe to take medications together. 
  • While you are in the hospital, do not take medications from home – not even an aspirin – unless you discuss this with your doctor.