When facing an emergency room visit or a stay in the hospital, the last thing you'll be thinking about is the design of your patient wristband. Although it may seem like just another hospital inconvenience, proper patient ID is critical to your overall care and can potentially save your life. And, the most common patient ID, the ID relied upon at each and every healthcare contact, is the simple patient wristband.
Why is a wristband so important to your overall healthcare safety? Consider that duplicate and inaccurate patient records continue to be a major concern for healthcare facilities of all sizes. According to the "Wall Street Journal," up to 10% of patients have been misidentified and an estimated 6% of those errors have had a direct adverse effect on the patient (1). Moreover, estimates indicate that up to 12% of patient records are duplicates.
In other words, as many as 12 patients per 100 will have duplicate records and many more will be misidentified and connected with the wrong record. These accidental misidentifications, incomplete and inaccurate health records, pose a significant risk to the patient and caregivers.
What can you do? Be aware of the first line of patient ID - the patient wristband. (ISG white paper) Check the wristband as soon as possible to be sure it is accurate and clearly legible. It is the first line of defense to prevent patient misidentification. Your wristband should be clearly printed, have multiple identifiers - the more detailed the better - and most importantly, the patient information must be complete and accurate.
Check your wristband. A patient wristband typically includes the patient's full name, date of birth, numerical age, sex, doctor's name, account number, and usually an MR number. (The MR number is used by hospitals to document the patient's medical history and care during each individual hospital stay - basically an incident-specific record number.) The information on the patient wristband should be clearly legible, accurate, and include several methods for identity confirmation - visual and electronic.
Wristband information should include one or more barcodes. Barcodes and QR codes are "machine readable" graphics that electronically identifies the person scanned. More complex codes digitally connect the person scanned with the specific medical record (EHR - electronic health record www.healthit.gov/faq/what-electronic-health-record-ehr) Some healthcare providers also include a patient photo on the wristband - a simple, immediate confirmation of the patient's identity.
Combined with simple identification errors, inaccurate or incomplete patient identification is a common problem for healthcare providers and a critical risk to patients. The College of American Pathologies: "Approximately 169,000 adverse events occur in US hospitals annually due to simple identification errors, with 55% of all specimen ID errors stemming from a primary specimen labeling error" (as noted in article https://www.scha.org/reducing-specimen-labeling-errors).
In healthcare, all three formats of machine-readable codes should be in use and included in the patient wristband. A simple 1D barcode for basic information like name, age, address - the quick identifiers; a PDF417 for detailed patient statistics; and, the QR to monitor medications or integrate with databases, programs or patient files. A photo of the patient is also recommended.
Bridgeway Solutions continues a tradition of excellence in place for more than 40 years. Bridgeway offers only the industry’s most innovative and reliable products from leading manufacturers like Entrust Datacard, Zebra, Salamander and ScholarChip. Bridgeway is the badging partner for Atrium Healthcare in the Charlotte area and the solution partner for North Carolina and South Carolina State Emergency Management and have been trusted to support security and safety at the Democratic National Convention, the 53rd Super Bowl in Atlanta, the US Open, and a host of other high-profile events. We’re currently working with NC state officials planning the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, NC in August 2020.
Contact sales@BridgewayID.com for more information on positive patient ID and other ID and access management solutions.
Referenced and supporting articles:
1. The Wall Street Journal, “Should Every Patient Have a Unique ID Number for All Medical Records?” – https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204124204577154661814932978
2. AHIMA, “Ensuring Data Integrity In Health Information Exchange” – http://library.ahima.org/PdfView?oid=105612
3. Advisory Board, “Eight Ways to Protect Your Margins” – https://www.advisory.com/research/financial-leadership-council/multimedia/interactive/eight-ways-to-protect-your-margins
4. Relias, “Training and Tools Can Stop Duplicate Medical Records – https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/141259-training-and-tools-can-stop-duplicate-medical-records
5. Black Book Research, “Duplicate patient records cost hospitals almost $2k per inpatient stay” – https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/ehrs/black-book-duplicate-patient-records-cost-hospitals-almost-2k-per-inpatient-stay.html
6. ECRI Institute, “Health IT Safe Practices: Toolkit for the Safe Use of Health IT for Patient Identification” – https://www.ecri.org/Resources/HIT/Patient%20ID/Patient_Identification_Toolkit_final.pdf