In the comings and goings at a busy hospital, it’s not just important, it’s crucial, to maintain correct patient identification.

“We want to make sure that for every service we provide, every therapy, every surgery, every medication, that we’re absolutely identifying the patient as the right patient,” says Dr. Larry Antonucci, Chief Medical Director of Lee Memorial Health System.

Nationwide, mistakes have been made, ones that could easily result in injury or death, which is why Lee Memorial Health System created the It Takes Two initiative.

“It Takes Two initiative is a partnership with our patients for a safety absolute of patient identification. We want to alleviate any type of misidentification by using two specific patient identifiers for every intervention, such as name and birth date,” says Dr. Antonucci.

The potential for confusion is constant. Between sound-a-like names, for example Thompson and Thomson, and common names that are likely to present.

“We can have two people with the same name in the facility. Chances are reasonable that that could happen,” says Michael Marcus, trauma program manager at Lee Memorial Health System.

Michael works in the trauma unit.

“However same name and same date of birth? We’re by many times over, decreasing the chance. So we’re identifying you as an individual.”

The minute the patient hits the door, the initiative kicks in. Establishing their identity, one that will stick with them throughout the medical process.

“So not just when you’re registering at the facility, but any time I come into the room to do a procedure, take blood, give you medication or perhaps other therapies, I confirm who you are by your name, your date of birth or a hospital issued identifier,” says Marcus.

Call it playing safe, within the health system, this is being called a ‘safety absolute’. Meaning the double identification process will be carried out every time.

“We’re also asking for your cooperation to do that. So I’ll introduce myself and at the same time ask you who you are and confirm your date of birth,” says Marcus.

“Patient safety is our number one core value at Lee Memorial Health System and this is just one of the tools that we’re going to use,” says Dr. Antonucci.

The initiative has special procedures for children and people with special needs. Regardless of age or condition, it always takes two.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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