ED Accreditation Update

Accreditation Q & A

Accreditation carries with it questions, some specific to individual organizations, but many that apply universally. In this section, ED Accreditation Update will provide experts’ answers to your accreditation questions, as well as tips from organizations that fared well during their survey process. Submit questions or suggestions for this section to Joy Daughtery Dickinson, Senior Managing Editor. E-mail: joy.dickinson@ahcpub.com.

Q: "The first patient safety goal requires us to use at least two patient identifiers (not the patient's room number) whenever taking blood samples or administering medications or blood products. What are some suggested identifiers?"

A: According to the Joint Commission’s explanation of patient identifiers, there are several acceptable means of identifying a patient — including asking the patient his or her name.

"Asking the patient’s name is good not only from a patient safety standpoint, but also from a public relations standpoint," advises Steve Wilder, CHSP, senior partner with Sorensen, Wilder and Associates, a consulting firm in Bradley, IL.

The two identifiers even may be drawn from the same location — as in, the patient’s name, ID number, or date of birth from his or her wristband.

It is the person-specific information that is the "identifier," not the medium on which that information resides, the Joint Commission guide to National Patient Safety Goals states.

Patients brought into the ED unconscious or without identification usually are assigned temporary names (e.g., John Doe) and a record number for identification, which may be used later to match him or her with specimen labels, medication orders, or blood product labels.

For more information on National Patient Safety Goals, see the Joint Commission’s web site, www.jcaho.org; click on "accredited organizations" and "patient safety."