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Survey Says: Calling all Patients!

by Dennis Ernst • June 30, 2016

Lady listeningIn May, we asked our subscribers and visitors to our web site about the practices in place where they work for summoning patients from a waiting room, and confirming their ID once they arrive at the draw station. 

Thirty-six percent said they announced the intended patient's first name aloud. Fourteen percent announced the last name, and 31 percent announced the combination. Eleven percent announced a unique identifier, while eight percent displayed a unique identifier for patients to respond to. 

Some comments:

  • When a patient is registered they are given a beeper with a number on it. Their face sheet prints to the outpatient lab and they are paged back.
  • Each person must get a number at the registration desk so we sometimes go by numbers, depends on if someone at desk collecting orders as patient comes in lab or if only the phlebotomist is there.
  • We use a number system. They take the number at the front of the stack of numbers. The phlebotomist takes that number from the patient and puts it at the front of their stack of numbers. The phlebotomist goes into the waiting room and calls the next number due (which is the number in her room + 1). This is to retain the blood request form with the patient for their privacy and ensure fairness in the queue.
  • They are given a beeper before being registered. when we beep them, we check their armband against the person we beeped.
  • We ask "who is next? Please come in". Our patients hold on to their forms until it's their turn, so they don't get mismatched. People don't often "queue jump."
  • We use a pager system to call the patient in.
  • If there are two persons w/the same 1st name, we have them verify the last name.

The follow-up question asked "When the outpatient summoned enters the draw station, how do you confirm his/her identification?" The most popular form of verification was to compare the order or labels by requesting the patient to verbally provide specific information" (75 percent). Nearly six percent asked the patient who responded to the summoning to affirm  specific information the phlebotomist provides. Three percent indicated no verification takes place in their draw stations. Seventeen percent used other methods, including:

  • Verify the order/labels with their ID band and ask them to give their name and DOB.
  • Patient is asked first and last name and date of birth.

Finally, we wanted to know if and how those who draw blood specimens confirm the tube was properly labeled after the draw, as required by the standards.  Surprisingly, 22 percent did not verify the labeled tube. Two respondents said they only confirmed tubes used for transfusion testing. Of those who regularly confirm tubes are labeled properly, 21 percent compare the tube(s) with the patient's ID band, while 39 percent show the labeled tube to the patient for confirmation. The remainder employ other techniques including:

  • Compare tubes against the orders on lab slip
  • Have them look and confirm the tubes are labeled properly and sign the preprinted form that states "I have verified that my specimen(s) have the correct name and date of birth on the label"
  • We print tube labels by entering the patient's unique NHI number. This label includes a lab registration number. We check the details of the lab labels matches the patient sticky labels used by the outpatient doctors.
  • I always have the pt verbally identify that it is his/her name and D.O.B. on the tubes.
  • Comparing the tube label information to the lab order information.

This month, we're asking what other patient procedures phlebotomists perform where you work besides venipunctures and capillary punctures (e.g., nasal swab collection, POCT, arterial collections, etc.). 

Take the survey.

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