Dr. Stephanie Jacks remembers the day when a medication error could have meant illness or even death for a tiny patient with hemangiomas, or reddish growths on the skin known as “strawberry marks.”
“I treat a lot of babies with hemangiomas with a medication called Propranolol, and it is usually used as a heart medication,” she said. “People started using it for hemangiomas, but because it's a heart medication, it can affect blood pressure and heart rate.”
A nurse drew up the medication and was about to give the patient the wrong oral dose. “We caught it in time, but it was an eye-opening moment,” said Jacks, clinical director of pediatric dermatology and assistant professor of pediatrics and dermatology.
“We thought, 'We should be checking this every time.' ”
Making a mental note isn't enough when it comes to preventing patient harm. Instead, Department of Dermatology chair Dr. Robert Brodell and his faculty are partnering with their dermatology residents to be a part of the solution.
For the last three years, residents have formulated and put into action their own quality assessment and quality improvement plans to address problems ranging from hand hygiene to dangerous drug interactions. They hold themselves and the dermatology team accountable for adhering to them.