Patient Identification
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Ensuring accuracy of patient information and identification

The biggest factor in erroneous lab results starts with the patient identification and sample labelling processes.  Accuracy of information must be verified at every step along the way.  A mis-identified patient or mis-labelled sample can have serious, even fatal consequences.

Patient identification policy

All patients must be positively identified by the medical professional before collecting a sample for lab testing.  The collector will verify that the verbal information, along with the unique patient identifiers (Personal Health Number or Medical Record Number) match the lab label and the requisition.  For hospital inpatients, all information must also match the hospital wristband attached to the patient’s body.

Inpatient identification

  • Inpatients must be wearing a hospital identification wristband at the time of specimen collection.
  • Ask the patient to state his/her legal first and last names and date of birth.
  • Check the information provided by the patient with both the patient’s hospital wristband and the label or requisition
  • Resolve any discrepancies before the sample is collected ie. spelling of the patient’s name, DOB, PHN or MRN
  • Patients requiring Transfusion Medicine Service (TMS) sample collection must have a TMS armband placed on the patient’s arm after the patient has been properly identified.
  • Any patient who cannot communicate effectively must have their identity confirmed by an appropriate adult or caregiver.
  • Label all samples at the time of collection in the presence of the patient.
  • TMS samples require additional labelling requirements.
  • Non-lab personnel collecting specimens for Transfusion Medicine must meet training and competency requirements in order for samples to be acceptable.  Contact your local Transfusion Medicine Service for more information.

Outpatient identification

  • Ask the patient to state his/her legal first and last names and date of birth.
  • Check the information provided by the patient with both the patient’s Care Card (or other official identification record) and the label or requisition
  • When collecting a sample for possible transfusion: Apply a TMS/blood bank wristband to the patient’s body, if not already attached
  • Resolve any discrepancies before the sample is collected ie. spelling of the patient’s name, DOB, PHN or MRN
  • Any patient who cannot communicate effectively must have their identity confirmed by an appropriate adult or caregiver.
  • Label all samples at the time of collection in the presence of the patient.
  • TMS samples require additional labelling requirements.
  • Non-lab personnel collecting specimens for Transfusion Medicine must meet training and competency requirements in order for samples to be acceptable.  Contact your local Transfusion Medicine Service for more information.

Unknown patient identification

Patients who must be treated in critical situations where the patient’s identity is unknown or cannot be verified will be identified by the following standard:

  • Assigned pseudonym: “Unknown,Male KGH EM00100/12” or “Unknown,Female RIH EM00101/12”
  • Medical Record Number, if possible
  • TMS/Blood Bank wristband

The TMS band number (sticker or handwritten) must be attached to each sample collected while the identity is unknown.

 

MoH     PCQO