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Ernst to Chair Patient ID Standard

by Dennis Ernst • November 03, 2016

Standard on blocksThe Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute recently appointed Center for Phlebotomy Education director, Dennis J. Ernst MT(ASCP), NCPT(NCCT), to chair the committee revising the industry standard on patient identification and sample labeling. Ernst has previously chaired several CLSI standards and guidelines, most recently the forthcoming revision of the venipuncture standard and a guideline titled "Essential Elements of a Phlebotomy Training Program." Both documents are due to be released in early 2017.

"To be chosen to chair this important standard is a true honor," says Ernst. "Patient identification and tube labeling is at the very heart of the preanalytic process. If those who draw blood samples get either step wrong, everything else that happens to the tube, including the test results that come from it, is either irrelevant or potentially catastrophic to the patient."

Ernst's co-chair for the committee is Anne-Marie Martel, recently featured in Phlebotomy Today-STAT! as an industry mover & shaker. "Anne-Marie is a rock start in standards development," says Ernst. "She's the voice of reason on every committee we've shared, and knows the importance of attaining consensus."

Ernst and Martel recently finalized their selection of committee members from dozens of volunteers around the globe who expressed an interest. "We were really taken aback by the number of applicants who wanted to participate in this document, and the depth of their expertise," says Ernst. 

Patient identification and sample labeling errors committed by laboratory personnel result in over 160,000 negative patient outcomes each year in the U.S. Eleven percent of all transfusion deaths occur because the phlebotomist either misidentified the patient or mislabeled the sample. 

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