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Communication, Identification, and Verification

Significant medical errors during the care of hospitalized patients leads to the death of 45,000–98,000 patients per year. Healthcare-acquired conditions (HACs) may reach ten times this number. Recent changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rules prevent reimbursement for HACs. Over the protests of hospital associations, Medicare recently published the location and incidence of harmful events. These actions are meant to encourage hospitals to reduce medical errors.

This course covers three issues related to the incidence of medical errors in hospitalized patients. All three are critical for the safety of patients.

These three critical issues are:

  • Communication among healthcare providers
  • Identification of patients
  • Verification of patient, procedure, and site before a procedure

The Joint Commission recognizes the importance of communication, identification, and verification.

The Joint Commission has several standards and National Patient Safety Goals that aim to:

  • Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers
  • Improve the accuracy of patient identification

Accredited facilities are expected to meet these goals by following certain recommendations.

Courseware Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Recognize key features of the "two-identifier" system for identifying patients
  • Recognize methods for preventing errors when communicating verbally
  • Recognize "risky" terms that should not be used in clinical documentation
  • Recognize the need for effective "hand-off" communication and timely reporting of critical results
  • List the steps for double-checking surgical patient, procedure, and site