Positive Patient ID is the Cornerstone of Patient Safety
Misidentification can cause medical errors, death
Curator of EngagingPatients.org
“It doesn’t take a lot of mental energy to notice out of the corner of your eye that this record shows a young white woman, and you’re treating an elderly African-American.” –Jason Adelman, chief patient safety officer at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, Wall Street Journal
Positive patient identification is the bedrock of patient safety. Without correctly identifying patients, there is significant risk for medical errors — sometimes even fatality.
Consider the following instances of mistaken identity in healthcare and their consequences from the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization database:
- A patient in cardiac arrest was mistakenly not resuscitated because the care team pulled up the wrong patient’s record and followed a do-not-resuscitate order.
- Cardiac clearance meant for a different patient was given to a patient with a previous abnormal electrocardiogram. The patient was found unresponsive the day after having surgery.
- The wrong patient was taken to get an MRI with general anesthesia. The patient was intubated and sedated before the error was caught.
- An infant received breastmilk intended for a different infant. The mother who produced the breastmilk had the hepatitis B virus, so the infant who received her milk had to be treated with hepatitis B immune globulin.
- Two patients with the same first name were scheduled for cataract surgery. The wrong patient was brought into the operating room and received the lens implant intended for the other.
Avoid these and many other dangerous consequences by following our tips and best practices for ensuring positive patient identification. Download our white paper, “Simple Steps to Ensure Positive Patient ID,” now.