From Deborah K. Riley, M.D., Patient Safety Officer, and Lisa A. Brosey, DNP, RN, Director, Patient Safety
To add a personal touch to patient interactions, LG Health is collecting patients’ preferred names during registration and scheduling. A patient’s preferred name is the name they choose to be called and may be different from their legal name.
However, the patient’s legal name must be confirmed prior to any medication administration, diagnostic test or procedure. Preferred names do not comply with the Patient Identification Policy. The policy has been updated to provide procedures on how to properly identify a patient.
To correctly identify patients:

  • Patients should be actively asked their name and date of birth. “What is your name and your date of birth?” (not “Are you Mr. Smith?”)

  • Patients should be asked this information with every transition, medication, blood draw, procedure, test, etc. Remember to use their legal name, not their preferred name.

  • Two identifiers, name and MRN, should be used when confirming information over the telephone with the Laboratory, Radiology, Admitting, other units, etc.

  • A room number is a location and is never to be used as the sole identifier for our patients!

  • When staff speak to others and only use a room number (e.g., “11 is ready to go to PT”), errors happen and patients can be harmed.

MYTH BUSTER: It is not a HIPAA violation to use a patient’s name in the hallway when talking with another caregiver. It is best to say, “Mr. Jones in Room 11 is ready for his test,” rather than “11 is ready for his test.”

By using two identifiers, we give our patients the proper treatment at the proper time, every time.
If you have questions regarding this alert or any other issues related to Patient Safety, please contact the Patient Safety Office or leave a suggestion or other concern 24/7 on the voicemail Patient Safety First Line, 717-544-4040.

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