Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Finding a Better Way to Identify Patients

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Finding a Better Way to Identify Patients

Article excerpt

Patient safety and privacy are vital any hcalthcare organization. At Brighton Hospital, a 92-bed addiction medicine hospital in Brighton. Michigan, a patient's confidentiality is a critical element ol treatment for substance abuse and addiction.

Brighton is subject lost net con confidentaility laws that do not allow the hospital to use a patient's last name as an identifier. Visible patient identification is limited to the patient's first name and last initial.

Historically, Brighton used wristbands with .1 plastic sleeve and lapel name tags tor patient identification for both its inpatiem and outpatient programs. Staff members would write .1 patient's first name and last initial on paper and insert it into the wristband s sleeve.The hospital of ten would have to replace patients' wristbands, as ink would fade or discolor, or the wristband would break,

The hospital used a similar process for name tags, which included a handwritten first name and last initial and a passportlike photo stapled to the tag. The process of creating and re-creating the wristbands and name tags was both costly and time consuming.

"These processes created work-flow issues because our staff members were spending a .significant amount of time replacing wristbands and name tags since they would wear out quickly during a patient's stay," says Denise Bertin-Kpp. president of Brighton Hospital. "A patient with an illegible wristband is as much of a concern as a patient without a wrist band. We recognized thai our patient ideiuilication process and solutions needed ro be updated, both for the benefit ol our staff as well as the safety ut our patients."

Brighton also is moving toward implementing clectronic medical records (EMRs), and the hospital needed a patient idenrification solution that would facilitate integrating point-of-care and administrative activities with the e-records system.

Brighton decided in 2005 to implement a new patient identification solution in two phases. 1 he first phase replaces the currem tools and processes with a more durable wristband and labeling solution that, in phase two, will use bar-code tecmology to integrate with F.MRs.

The new wristband system includes durable, high-resolution wristbands, digital cameras, software, and direct thermal printers, which use heat to create text, bar codes, and photos directly on the wristband. …

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