Higher Level of Medication Safety for Children at Sky Ridge

ER Doctor with Pediatric Patient

When children have serious emergencies, medical staff must act quickly, always keeping safety at the forefront. That's why Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Sky Ridge Medical Center has implemented the Artemis system, a new electronic medication system that adds a new level of safety when it comes to giving kids the right amount of medicine in an emergency situation.

The Artemis system is carefully designed to speed up calculations and reduce mistakes. James Broselow, MD, emergency room physician and inventor of the Broselow Tape, and Robert Luten, MD, professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Florida School of Medicine – Jacksonville, developed the system to quickly deliver precise, accurate information.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Broselow created the Broselow Tape, a simple but effective color-coded tool that determines body weight from body length and provides proper dosing for children. The Broselow Tape is used in nearly every pediatric hospital in the country. The Artemis system takes this proven system to the next level by creating the electronic version, taking the potential for medication-dosing errors out of human hands. While the Broselow Tape system works, Sky Ridge does everything possible to make medication dosage even safer.

"Emergency department staff must be vigilant when caring for a child who is critically ill, because errors in calculating drug doses can happen. This system helps us eliminate errors with drug dosing and also helps the staff know equipment sizes that are correct for a child of any age," says Assistant Chief Nursing Officer Angela Polson, RN, who oversees the Women’s and Children's programs at Sky Ridge.

Artemis simplifies the process of selecting the right amount of medicine for a child. The information is presented in a simple color-coded table format for quick identification and accuracy. All members of the health care team – at the bedside and in the pharmacy – can access the information immediately, offering seamless care. HealthONE is the only health care system using this electronic medication safety system within the Rocky Mountain West region.

Parents: Prevent Overdoses and Allergic Reactions

When your child is sick, you want him or her to feel better as soon as possible. Medication is sometimes part of the treatment plan. But too often, children and teenagers are rushed to the emergency department because of medication mistakes. Nearly half of such emergencies occur from accidental overdoses. Another one in three is caused by allergic reactions.

Children tend to be more sensitive to drugs than adults and can experience different reactions. Complications that can arise include rashes, gastrointestinal issues, a swollen face and changes in mental state.

The worst culprits for accidental overdoses in children include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as:

  • Antibiotics, such as amoxicillin
  • Painkillers, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Medications to help breathing, including asthma medicines, antihistamines and cold and cough remedies

"Most hospital visits related to medication mistakes result from little ones finding and swallowing medicines not meant for them," says Chris Miller, RN, director of the emergency department at Sky Ridge Medical Center.

To prevent an accidental overdose:

  • Store medications in a safe place, out of kids' reach.
  • Keep medicine in its original package with the cap secured.
  • Never call medicine "candy."
  • Avoid using Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children younger than age 2.

If your child takes too much medication or has a reaction, call 9-1-1 or the Poison Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222.