Even under ideal conditions, administering any kind of medical care can be a complicated and potentially dangerous process. When you factor in shrinking budgets and overworked staff, the potential for a wide range of errors increases significantly, and the results can be catastrophic—preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
One of the most common errors involves misidentifying patients at various points of interaction throughout their stay. Misidentification errors include administering medications meant for another patient; mixing up samples in a lab, leading to inaccurate diagnoses and treatment; or even performing invasive diagnostic or surgical procedures on the wrong patient.1
According to The Joint Commission, “Wrong-patient errors occur in virtually all stages of diagnosis and treatment,” which is why The Joint Commission has made improving patient identification procedures a priority for the past several years.2
The Power of Positive Patient Identification (PPID)
Using an integrated system of barcodes and scanners, healthcare facilities can significantly reduce the potential for misidentification from admissions to discharge and at every step in between. In addition, information captured at the point of care can flow directly into the EMR, providing real-time updates for the entire healthcare team. For example:
- Samples taken at the point of care are labeled on the spot with the correct patient ID, and the lab inputs the results directly into the correct patient’s record.
- The patient is positively identified before every diagnostic test is performed.
- Medications labeled in the pharmacy are positively matched to the patient at the point of care by the clinician, ensuring all five rights of medication administration are observed.
Positive patient identification has tremendous potential to improve patient safety. Consider this: The FDA’s own research concluded that increased use of barcode-based bedside medication administration systems would prevent 500,000 adverse drug events and blood transfusion errors over a 20-year period. And doing so would keep an estimated $93 billion in treatment costs out of the healthcare system.3
Our new white paper explores the critical impact positive patient identification has on patient safety throughout the administrative, diagnostic and treatment phases of a patient’s stay. The paper also explores how PPID can improve staff efficiency and help healthcare organizations meet the needs of changing patient demographics in an increasingly competitive labor market.
Download “Patient Safety—It All Starts with Positive Patient Identification” today to learn more.
3 FDA to require bar coding of most pharmaceuticals by mid-2006. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2004;61(7):644–5