The Right Patient Every Time
By Marc Probst
Feb 12, 2016
Updated Jul 13, 2023
5 min read
As we digitize healthcare and patients move from one care setting to another, we need to ensure, with 100 percent accuracy, that we identify the right patient every time.
Identity is a complex issue that’s only made more complicated by the need to share information across disparate systems. We need a solution and believe that a solution can be found.
Knowing who’s presenting for care at a hospital or clinic is a critical part of providing quality, cost-effective care. But it doesn’t stop with just identifying the patient; we also have to correctly identify their next of kin, guarantor, dependents, and significant other. Any misidentification in any of these areas can co-mingle or overwrite critical information needed to deliver care.
Here are three scenarios that illustrate what can happen when the failure to empirically identify a patient becomes risky—medically, financially, and legally.
Some individuals don’t want to be identified when they seek care for whatever reason. But, when they present for care and surreptitiously present as another person, the risk to both the individual seeking care and the person they’re pretending to be is tremendous—medically, financially, and legally.
Will a national identifier fix every identification problem? It would be naïve to think that a solution will account for every possible human error that can happen when trying to identify a patient, but we have the technologies to be much, much better as an industry and it’s time we find an innovative way to implement those technologies.