EMMC Achieves Patient Safety Milestone 

Officials with Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor say they’ve reached an important milestone in patient safety.

For the months of July and August, the hospital had zero preventable errors for patients who had heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgery.

The staff has been working toward that goal for six years.

That’s when Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems made a commitment to eliminate preventable medical errors throughout all of its hospitals.

At EMMC, in some cases, that’s meant nurses working in two-person teams to make sure medication is properly administered.

Ruth Dow, R.N. and Charge Nurse, says, “They’re proud to see that we have zero defects in these different things we’ve been working on. They know it’s important to take the extra time to do that second check to keep their patients safe.”

Dr. James Raczek, EMMC Senior Vice President, says, “In order to get to zero, you have to have everybody engaged. That means the physicians, the nurses, every healthcare provider, whether they provide directly to a patient or they’re supporting direct caregivers. ”

Officials say other steps toward zero errors include making sure antibiotics are started at an exact time or patients are given the proper follow-up care information when they leave the hospital.

They say the use of electronic medical records also helps reduce the likelihood of errors.