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July 10, 2014 - Dr. Ehab Molokhia Honored with First USA Medication Safety Award
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Left to right: Dr. Ehab Molokhia, a family practice physician at the USA Medical Center, and Beth Anderson, Medical Center Administrator.

Dr. Ehab Molokhia, a family practice physician on the staff of the University of South Alabama Medical Center, has been honored with the hospital’s first USA Medication Safety Award.

The award recognizes Molokhia’s efforts to prevent medication errors through a process he has helped create and refine over the past seven years. The process has been cited as a best practice by The Joint Commission hospital accrediting agency.

Beginning with a study of medication errors that started in 2007, the Medication Process Review Committee created a step-by-step record of the medication process from the initial physician order until the medication enters the patient’s body.

“Each time a medication error is reported it is tracked to determine what step in the medication process allowed the error to occur,” said Steve Bethea, Director of Pharmacy Services at the Medical Center. “Then, the committee recommends changing the offending step to eliminate the possibility of a similar error in the future.”

“Medication errors and prevention of them is an important concern to institutions, so all institutions are required to have a process of reporting and prevention,” Bethea explained. Although USAMC has had a process for many years, under the leadership of Dr. Molokhia it has evolved to a proactive error prevention program.

“He inspires everyone to take errors and prevention seriously,” said Bethea.

The process includes computer tracking of medications so that errors can be reported, corrected and prevented from happening again very promptly — before the end of a hospital shift. Before the new process, it might have taken months to track down an error, Bethea said.

“It’s very important to have physician leadership,” for a program like this, Bethea said. The hospital administration has to support it 100 percent — which the USAMC leadership does, he says — but physician leadership is crucial.

Molokhia came to USAMC as a family practice resident and joined the staff after completing his residency. He served as president of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, then joined the Medication Process Review Committee in 2007 and became president of that team in 2009.

The Medication Safety Award was presented by hospital Administrator, Beth Anderson, in behalf of the USAMC Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee on Thursday, July 10.

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