Joint Commission Standards and Emergency Medication Cart Security

PUBLISHED: Jan 14, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The Joint Commission recently released a new Frequently Asked Question clarifying their position on the use of breakaway tags on emergency medication carts. Joint Commission medication management standard MM.03.01.03 requires organizations to have emergency medications and supplies readily available and stored in a manner that keeps the contents secure.

It can be a challenge for organizations to balance keeping emergency medications and supplies securely stored but also readily available. This new TJC FAQ, link below, clarifies:

  • The use of devices such as breakaway tags with a numeric identification number is acceptable when there is a defined process in place to monitor the integrity of the breakaway lock.
  • The use of devices such as a padlock that can potentially delay immediate access to the contents of an emergency cart, is not recommended.

The goal of any security device should be to allow an organization to easily identify tampering of the emergency medication cart while not creating a barrier or delay in the staff's ability to access the emergency supplies contained within the cart.

Best practice is for organizations to conduct a risk assessment to determine the best method for securing emergency cart contents. A risk assessment allows for thorough consideration of cart security options that incorporates operational processes and ensures the delivery of safe, quality emergency care while maintaining the integrity of emergency medication and supplies.

Included with today’s notice are example policies related to emergency medication cart security.

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