How Much Do Your Mistakes Cost?

2718 Words11 Pages
How Much Do Your Mistakes Cost?
Brittney Roper, R.N.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University


Proper patient identification in hospitals has been an issue for many years, especially when it comes to blood specimen collection. Laboratory specimens being mislabeled are a everyday cause of harm to patients including repeat diagnostic procedures; repeat phlebotomy; delays in necessary surgical procedures; a performing unnecessary surgical procedures (Dunn and Moga, 2010). This is not only costly, but it is very stressing to patients and medical staff. The biggest concern is the possibility of making a fatal error when it comes to specimen collection. Without proper patient identification this risk increases substantially. Wallin, Sodberg, Van Guelpen, Stenlund, Grankvist, and Brulin (2009) state that critical errors in patient identification for blood testing occurs in up to one per 1000 specimens or procedures and misidentified specimens cause 160,000 adverse events every year in America.
Bar coding has been introduced into many hospitals in the last several years. Using bar codes on patients ID bracelets and labels for specimens has been the normal practice for Saint Francis Hospital for some time. However, the labels aren’t used as well as they should be to prevent errors in patient care. According to Wickham, Miedema, Gamerdinger, and DeGooyer (2006), implementing the use of bar codes for patient identification will prevent
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