The 2004 HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study states preventable medical errors are responsible for as many as 195,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. Recognizing the role positive patient identification plays in preventing medical errors, The Joint Commission — an independent, not-for-profit organization which accredits and certifies U.S. health care organizations and programs — has included “improve the accuracy of patient identification” as one of its top National Patient Safety Goals annually since 2003.
The first step in every hospital process begins with positive patient identification. From patient admission and throughout the hospital continuum of care, matching the correct patient to the right medication, specimen, test, and procedure is critical for improving patient safety. When the patient ID process is not automated, mistakes occur that may severely compromise a patient’s safety or health and prevent them from receiving the correct treatment.
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