Use of Patient Identifiers Key in Ensuring Proper Care

For patient’s at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center and Ministry Medical Group’s Primary Care Clinic in Merrill, being asked your name and date of birth is a normal every day practice that ensures you’re receiving the correct care 100% of the time. 

For patients who are admitted to the hospital, a staple of the identification and verification process for years has been the placement of an armband on the patient at the time of admission.

The use of armbands has been expanded in recent years to those receiving laboratory, radiology, or rehabilitation services, but one thing has remained constant, the use of two patient identifiers like name and date of birth to make sure that the correct services are being rendered to the correct patient. It may sound like a simple practice, but it demonstrates the commitment between staff and patients to work together to provide the safest care possible.

“We realize that for some people it may be an inconvenience to go through the armband process or be asked the same information a number of times, but it is a necessary part of our patient safety efforts,” said Colleen Schuett, Clinical Quality Improvement Specialist at Ministry Good Samaritan.   

Schuett adds that consistency is important and that the same identification process carries with patients who may come to Ministry Good Samaritan for lab work, a diagnostic imaging appointment or physical therapy in the same visit.

Each year, the health care industry identifies goals in an effort to continually improve patient safety across the country. This year’s National Patient Safety Goals focus on practices to improve patient identification, staff communication, infection prevention, identifying patient safety risks and preventing mistakes in surgery.

“These goals are a useful tool in keeping us aware of all the important things we do every day to keep out patients safe,” added Schuett.

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