National Patient Safety Goal 1 Instructions

Goal 1 of the Joint Commission is to improve the accuracy in identifying patients served. The assigned number for the goal is NPSG.01.01.01 and it uses the rationale of ‘using at least two identifiers when providing care, treatment, and services’ (The Joint Commission, 2021). The Joint Commission acknowledges that wrong-patient errors emanate from all stages of patient care including diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, the purpose of using two identifiers is first to identify a specific individual as the patient for whom service is intended, and second, to align the individual with the treatment. This paper, therefore, analyzes the importance of using two identifiers when providing healthcare and the viability of the rationale in a healthcare setting.

NPSG.01.01.01 is quite an important goal as it reduces errors in all the stages of care delivery thus ensuring the safety and efficacy of healthcare services provided. In my practice, I have witnessed several failures from the wrong identification of patients. The failures result in errors such as wrong person procedures, transfusion errors, medication errors, and testing errors. A report by Lippi et al (2017) identify medical errors as the third largest cause of mortality in the US. Thus, while it seems like the easiest form of error to prevent, mistaken patient identification is quite prominent and detrimental in the delivery of health care.

Using two patient identifiers helps reduce such errors by improving the reliability of an individual’s identification process. Patient identifiers can include the name, telephone number, and the uniquely assigned identification number. Particularly, the identifiers should be used when collecting blood samples and other specimens, conducting procedures and giving treatment and when administering medication or blood transfusion (Martin, 2017). Notably, physical location or room number is not considered as an identifier. Additionally, the labeling should be conducted in the presence of a patient. This helps in ensuring that the treatment or service matches the patient.

I am positive that NPSG.01.01.01 is realistic and achievable in all healthcare settings. Nevertheless, some obstacles challenge its implementation. One particular concern about wrong identification is errors around infants due to their inability to speak about their identities (Riplinger et al, 2020). The misidentification is majorly due to the lack of official names at birth. The traditional way of giving them their mother’s last name, baby’s gender, and the medical record number may result in several identical cases as the record number may only differ with one digit for children born at the same time.

The other challenge is that patients may feel disturbed when the care provider has to confirm their identity so often (Martin, 2017). The act of checking identity at every stage may seem suspicious to some patients. To overcome this barrier, health workers should always explain to each patient that the essence of double identification is to ensure that each patient receives the correct intervention services at the right time. Regarding the persistent challenge with infant patients, the system should use the mother’s first name as well. In addition, barcoding can also be implemented for easier identification.

Based on the above discussion, using two patient identifiers is a vital step towards ensuring accuracy and safety in the provision of healthcare services. Correct identification ensures that caregivers administer the right treatment or service to the intended patient. Essentially, the accuracy helps reduce the morbidity and mortality cases that result from medical errors, such as from conducting a procedure on the wrong patient or confusing test results from different patients. Essentially, using two patient identifiers is achievable in hospitals especially when patients are made to understand the step’s intention and when health workers are committed to mitigating all possible errors.