For your safety: What is your name and date of birth?
When coming to the hospital, patients may experience many processes that feel unfamiliar and repetitive, like providing personal information including their name, date of birth and the reason for their visit. While it’s true that staff and providers at LMH Health love to get to know their patients, these processes aren’t just so we can know you better. They are asked for your safety.
At LMH Health, we use For Your Safety—an identification tool used to give additional information on why asking the same questions are a necessary part of our process.
Janette Kirkpatrick, Vice President for Clinical Excellence, said “Patient safety checks are an important part of the care we deliver as healthcare providers. Identifying patients accurately and matching the patient’s identity with the correct treatment or service is a critical component of the care we provide.”
Kirkpatrick explained, “It is important to identify our patients before tests are completed, medications administered or procedures are performed. Every step in our patient’s experience from identification of our patients to testing and diagnosis should be accompanied by verifying our patient’s identity with two patient identifiers. In this case, that is his/her name and date of birth.”
Mardi Bowlin, the Patient Safety Officer for LMH Health, said when patients visit a clinic or have an inpatient stay, asking them to repeat their name and reason they are here at various times throughout their visit is one of the critical steps taken when providing care.
“If you have been a patient at LMH Health, you may have noticed that many times we will ask - for your safety, please state your full name and your date of birth,” she said. “Though we understand this can seem redundant, it is a part of what we do to offer the highest level of care. This verification ensures that we’re matching the correct service to the correct patient.”
“Asking these questions over and over again may give the impression that the care team is not communicating, but it’s quite the opposite,” Bowlin said.
Kirkpatrick said that everyone has a role in making healthcare safe. All LMH Health providers and associates play an important role in ensuring patient safety through active identification.
When visiting the hospital, providing your full name and date of birth is playing an active role in your health. Asking questions or providing health information to a healthcare professional should be an expected part of the visit.
Danel Cupps, director for Risk Management, Compliance and the Medical Staff Office, echoed Kirkpatrick’s thoughts. “When you ask questions about your stay, medications or other aspects of your care and recovery, our team is there to support your health journey and provide you with answers.”
“Patients should be active participants in the identification process and this starts with those details associated with your care,” Cupps said. “Verifying the spelling of your name is just the first step.”
About The Leapfrog Group
The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit watchdog organization that serves as a voice for health care consumers and purchasers, using their collective influence to foster positive change in U.S. health care. Leapfrog is the nation’s premier advocate of transparency in health care—collecting, analyzing and disseminating data to inform value-based purchasing and improved decision-making.