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Adhering to Protocol for Patient Information and Identification

What does patient information, patient identification, medication errors, malpractice, and law suits all have in common? One common link between these topics is lack of education. The stringent practices that are required in health care today are something that no one can take lightly. The need to educate our health care workers has become something that needs to stay a primary focus in the health care provider business. Educating staff does not stop once the employee is hired, but a continual process to keep everyone in compliance for the need of a higher standard of patient care. Failure to correctly interpret a chart or identify patients continues to result in medication errors, transfusion errors, testing errors, wrong person procedures, and the improper method of care.

The major areas where incorrect patient information and misidentification can occur include: private home care, nursing home care, assisted living facilities, hospitals, drug administration practices, phlebotomy, blood transfusions, and surgical interventions. The trend towards limiting working hours for clinical team members leads to an increased number of team members caring for each patient, thereby increasing the likelihood of hand-over and other communication problems. Because patient misidentification is identified as a root cause of many errors, the Joint Commission, in the United States of America, listed improving patient identification accuracy as the first of its National Patient Safety Goals introduced in 2003, and till this day, continues to be an accreditation requirement.

Wristbands are one traditional method for identifying hospitalized patients or patients in monitored patient facilities. Missing bands or incorrect information, limit the efficacy of this system. Color coding of wristbands facilitates rapid visual recognition of specific issues, but the lack of a standardized coding system has lead to errors by staff that provide care at multiple facilities. The lack of time taken to review patient charts between shifts or between site visits adds to the lack of detail taken in the patient care spectrum. Are we moving back to the need of arm bands in all of the heath care settings? The precedence that is being set forth by governing professional organizations is that we, as health care providers, need to demand detail and compliance in all areas of providing health care. This starts with educating.

Protocol development and enforcing protocols has become a lax practice. The need of educating healthcare staff and emphasizing that health-care providers have a primary responsibility for checking and verifying a patient’s identity, identifying specific health care needs, health care restrictions, patient physical demands and conditions, and that patients should be actively involved and should receive education on the importance of correct patient identification processes.

The Windsor Care Facility was sued over the choking death of one of its nursing home patients. The wrongful death suit was files for $6 million dollars by the family with hopes in the results of change in the care when it comes to feeding its nursing home patients. This particular case occurred due to lack of attention to the patients’ physical abilities and needs. The case escalated with the staff members being less than forthcoming with the facts surrounding the situation.

Situations such as these hold the organization to a much more stringent level of education when it comes to their staff. Making sure that staff abides by the standards set forth for patient care and continues a level of education to maintain that higher level of care is pertinent for the demands of health care today.

To read more about the Windsor Care Facility story, Click Here 

Pedagogy and Pedagogy’s authors have taken that active approach to providing the educational resources to improve the quality of care that health care providers administer. They strive to provide the highest quality education for all health care organizations.

Here are a few of our accredited and non-accredited courses that pertain to such topics:
Visit Pedagogy to see a complete listing of our online education.


Pedagogy Blog by Catheryn Peplinski, MBA, RT (R) (M), RDMS, is our Director of Operations and author of Pedagogy online continuing education courses.

Catheryn Peplinski, MBA, RT (R) (M), RDMS, is Director of Operations at Pedagogy Inc. in Troup, Texas. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Phoenix, and has a degree in Radiology from Ferris State University. Catheryn is licensed in multiple modalities of Radiology, specializing in High-Risk Obstetrics and genetic testing with over 28 years of experience in diagnostic medicine, education, and management.

Her background includes management and development of clinical practices, education, health care provider in multiple diagnostic procedures, laboratory procedures, surgical assisting, protocol development, accreditation processes, operations, author, and editing/publishing with Pedagogy Inc. She has taught medical students the skills of ultrasound, as well as to nursing staff and radiology and ultrasound students. Catheryn has successfully produced educational material for continuing education and student development. Catheryn has a deep passion to help others with strong beliefs in service oriented philosophies to give to those less fortunate.

She has been blessed with the opportunity to participate in a medical mission trip to Guatemala with her children to gain the appreciation of field medicine and sharing of their talents. She has written multiple news articles and blogs for Pedagogy as well as an infusion based class for Radiology Nursing Professionals.


Visit us at: http://www.pedagogyeducation.com
Posted: 8/26/2013 10:41:10 AM
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