Beginning this September, Sleepy Eye Medical Center will implement a new patient safety initiative that focuses on encouraging and educating patients about the safe and correct use of their medications.

Beginning this September, Sleepy Eye Medical Center will implement a new patient safety initiative that focuses on encouraging and educating patients about the safe and correct use of their medications. The Blue Bag Campaign will be implemented as a way to enhance care coordination of medication prescribing and usage.

During this campaign, blue medication bags will be offered to SEMC patients taking medications. The blue bags give patients a safe and memorable place to store, locate and transport their medications. However, the goal of the Blue Bag Campaign is to help patients remember to bring medication bottles to all clinic and hospital visits to improve safe usage and enhance care coordination.

“As a provider, I see firsthand the importance of proper monitoring and management of a patient’s medications. This process is essential to keeping them healthy, managing chronic disease, and avoiding preventable hospitalizations,” said Dr. Adam Armbruster of SEMC.

To ensure optimal medication safety, SEMC asks patients to bring all medication bottles to hospital and clinic visits—including over the counter drugs, herbs, vitamins and other dietary supplements. Maintaining an accurate record of medications can help alleviate drug-to-drug interactions and enhance the therapeutic effects of a patient’s medications.

When a patient brings in their medication bottles to a clinic or hospital visit, their provider will review each one and decide whether to continue or discontinue their usage. This is called medication reconciliation, a process that ensures patients take the correct medication(s) in the right dose, at the right time and for the right reason(s).

In some circumstances, individuals may be seen in another facility or by a different provider prior to a hospital or clinic visit at SEMC. That facility and/or provider may have added a medication or changed a medication dose. Bringing in medication bottles helps SEMC create an accurate and up-to-date medication list.

“A patient’s involvement in keeping track of what they are taking is critically important as patients seeing multiple specialists may have numerous physicians adjusting medications. If we aren’t aware of these changes, we may fail to properly monitor drug levels, side effects and drug-to-drug interactions,” said Dr. Adam Armbruster.

SEMC will offer a medication safety seminar at 7 p.m. on September 15 in the lower level at SEMC. Dr. Adam Armbruster will provide information regarding safe medication practices for both patients and caregivers. The event is free, open to the public, and all participants will receive a blue medication bag.

Interested individuals may also request a blue medication bag during their next visit or are welcome to stop by the SEMC front desk during clinic hours to pick one up.