Safety Practices

We take pride in the care we provide. To offer you the safest, most effective care possible, we monitor our processes regularly.

At El Camino Hospital, we’re committed to delivering the highest level of patient care quality and safety, so we continually look for opportunities to improve care and efficiency. We've incorporated a number of practices to assure the health and well-being of our patients.

How We Prevent Errors

Medical errors can involve medications, incorrect diagnoses, surgery, lab reports or medical equipment. At El Camino Hospital, we have a number of processes in place to help prevent errors — and we continually look for new opportunities to improve patient care and safety.

At El Camino Hospital, our patient safety procedures include:

  • If you’re having blood work or radiology testing done as an outpatient, hospital staff will ask you to confirm your name and birth date before any medical service is performed.
  • If you’re being admitted to the hospital, you'll have an identification band placed on your wrist. Your care team will ask your name and check your hospital ID band each time they give you a medication, draw blood or take you for tests or procedures.
  • If you’re scheduled for surgery, we’ll ask you to confirm the proper bodily location of your surgery, and your doctor will mark the correct surgical site.
  • Doctors use El Camino Hospital's computer system to transmit most medical orders, greatly reducing the risk of human error. If your doctor needs to communicate orders regarding your care over the phone or verbally, your nurse will immediately write down each order and read it back to confirm its accuracy before it's carried out.
  • Because abbreviations have been shown to cause medical errors, El Camino Hospital uses a limited number of abbreviations, excluding those that have been shown to cause frequent errors.
  • We take extra precautions to keep work areas where nurses and pharmacists prepare medications clean, quiet and free of distractions.
  • Doctors, nurses and other caregivers clean their hands with a disinfectant soap or hand gel before and after physical contact with any patient.
  • To reduce your risk of exposure to the flu while you're in the hospital, employees receive flu shots free of charge and are encouraged to receive flu shots each fall. In addition, flu shots are available to patients admitted to El Camino Hospital during flu season. Also during flu season, if you or a family member is seen in the emergency department, you'll be asked to put on a mask to reduce the likelihood of spreading or catching the flu.

Computerized Order Entry for Enhanced Safety

El Camino Hospital is known for innovative care and technology, and that extends to patient-safety practices. In 1972, we became the nation's first fully computerized hospital, allowing doctors to enter orders for their patients' care. By transmitting orders directly from the doctor to the pharmacist to the nurse who administers the medications, many potential errors can be avoided — including handwriting-related errors.

Over the years, the organization has continuously upgraded the electronic medical record (EMR). The EMR now allows many doctors to see your outpatient medical record, thereby ensuring we can see all treatments and medications you may have received before your hospital stay. It also allows for a smooth transition back to your primary care doctor.

How You Can Help Improve Safety

Our utmost goal is to provide you with high-quality, error-free care — and there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Offer to show your ID wristband to staff when they enter your room.
  • Make sure your doctor knows what medications and dietary supplements you're currently taking by completing our medication form. Also, alert your doctors and nurses about any allergies or reactions you've had to medications in the past.
  • There are numerous medications and situations that can put you at risk of falling. Even if you feel you're able to get out of bed yourself, use your call light and wait for a staff member to assist you.
  • Feel free to ask your caregiver if they've washed their hands before providing care to you.
  • Ask staff to explain what they're doing and why. Being aware of your care plan can help reduce errors. Ask questions if you don't understand something a caregiver is doing.
  • Review our patients' rights document, which is also posted in the hospital, and review and sign our Notice of Privacy Practices.


For more information about patient safety, visit The Joint Commission, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and National Patient Safety Foundation.


Let Us Know How We're Doing

We value your feedback and invite you to share any comments or concerns you have during your hospital stay. Simply ask to speak to the department manager or one of our hospital administrators. To contact a hospital administrator, dial "0" from inside the hospital and an operator will connect you.

If you’d like to comment on our hospital or services after your stay, you can leave a message on our Comment Line at 650-988-7263 — if you wish, you can leave an anonymous comment. Or, write us at:

El Camino Hospital
2500 Grant Road, M/S - ECHG51
Mountain View, CA 94040

If you don’t feel your concern has been addressed adequately by going through these channels, you may contact:

Department of Health Services 
100 Paseo de San Antonio, Suite 235
San Jose, CA 95113

Or, you may file a complaint with Report a Patient Safety Concern or File a Complaint at The Joint Commission at 800-994-6610.