Positive patient identification improves patient safety, security, and experience

Positive patient identification is a challenge for many healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs). Studies show that about 10% of patients are misidentified when they check in for medical care. Patient misidentification can impact patient experience, erode patient trust, and lead to harmful and sometimes even fatal medical errors.

In a recent webinar, Imprivata Clinical Workflow Specialists Chris McKay, RN and Claire Reilly, RN, MSC, shared some of their real-world experiences where improperly identified patients were given the wrong blood-pressure medications or unnecessary chest x-rays. They also shared a horrific story of how the identities of two young car-accident victims were swapped, causing the surviving victim to be mistaken for the young woman killed in the accident. This is the kind of “never again” story that no healthcare worker or organization ever wants to hear.

Patient misidentification impacts care and outcomes

Chris and Claire’s tales demonstrate some of the dangerous and even tragic consequences of patient misidentification. Here are some additional real-world examples of how patient identification errors can lead to medical mishaps and even death.

Misfiled mammogram has tragic consequences

A woman had a routine mammogram that detected a malignancy, but the results were misfiled in the chart of a deceased patient with the same name. The actual patient was never notified and didn’t follow up with her provider on the mammogram results. Tragically, the patient’s next annual mammogram revealed the cancer had spread and become terminal.

Duplicate patient records conceal known drug allergies

A patient presented unresponsive from an outside hospital as a transfer. The patient’s name and demographic information were provided, but the receiving hospital could find no corresponding record for the patient and created a new medical record. Days later, the patient became responsive and explained he had been treated at the facility previously and went by his middle name, not his given first name. The hospital found the patient’s original record and discovered he had known drug allergies, and could have been the victim of an easily preventable mishap.

Poor patient ID practices open the door to insurance fraud

A patient (we’ll call him Bob) presented for an emergency appendectomy, but the insurance company denied the claim, citing prior removal of appendix. A subsequent investigation revealed the patient’s brother (we’ll call him John) had used Bob’s insurance card years ago when he had appendicitis. The hospital that performed John’s appendectomy failed to properly validate his identity. The ID mishap resulted in a delayed insurance claim payment for Bob’s provider, but it could just have easily led to a medical error or catastrophe.

Imprivata PatientSecure improves patient safety, security, and privacy

Forward-looking HDOs are implementing positive patient identification solutions like Imprivata PatientSecure to improve patient safety, security, and privacy. Imprivata PatientSecure uses palm-vein biometrics to accurately and securely identify patients, providing touchless verification and record matching at registration and at points of care. The solution can help you improve patient safety by avoiding mismatched records and medical errors. It can also help you improve patient experience and satisfaction by streamlining interactions and protecting data privacy and security.

With Imprivata PatientSecure, registered patients can check-in for appointments with a simple scan of the palm. Patients don’t have to worry about repeating personal information like date of birth or Social Security numbers out loud in public. And HDOs can avoid bad actors overhearing and stealing PHI, or registrars mishearing or mistyping patient identity information and incidentally creating duplicate or merged patient records.

Imprivata PatientSecure simplifies and speeds up check-ins, ensures patients are treated based on their complete and accurate medical records, and safeguards data privacy, security, and integrity.

Next steps

To learn more about the importance of positive patient identification watch our webinar “Do no Harm. Positive patient identification saves lives, money and time.” Claire and Chris describe real-life examples of how patient misidentification can impact patient care, and provide some tips for building a business case for a positive patient identification solution.

And be sure to check out this infographic to learn more about the benefits of positive patient identification.