Sep 30

Combined Commission Changes Requirement for Patient ID during Blood Draws

Published: September 30 yr

Center for Phlebotomy Education says new requirement is certainly step backward for patient safety

When The Joint Commission recently changed the patient identification requirement for drawing the blood sample, one national phlebotomy leader considered it a step backward in patient safety.

“Per a revised policy issued by Joint Commission, it is no longer necessary for the phlebotomist or person sketching the blood to actively include patients by, for example , asking these to state their name, ” commented Dennis Ernst, MT(ASCP), the long-serving Director of the Center for Phlebotomy Education. He’s one of the leading observers of phlebotomy trends and he is concerned about what this means to patient safety.


“Having a patient state their name before a blood collection is an extremely important step in patient identification, ” declared Ernst. “The Joint Fee now finds it acceptable for the phlebotomist to use the identification bracelet solely, which we all know can end up for the wrong patient. That’s disturbing to me because it’s taking a chance having a patient’s life. I think any time you dilute the requirements for patient identification, a person create a possible scenario that is not beneficial to anyone seeking healthcare. ”

“There doesn’t seem to be any logic that supports lessening the patient identification requirement, ” mentioned Ernst, who worries that not needing phlebotomists to verify that the person about to be drawn matches the data on their wrist band will lead to unnecessary mistakes. “It’s reported that 160, 000 adverse patient occasions occur every year in the United States due to individual or specimen identification errors involving the lab.

“Given the particular frequency of these errors, it seems that wondering someone to confirm their identity is really a simple, positive requirement, ” he or she added. Ernst queried The Combined Commission over this issue. He says that a representative from The Joint Commission knowledgeable him that their clients feel that it is “burdensome and unnecessary” to ask a patient to confirm his or her name.

“Given how usually the wrong ID band is wear a patient, this creates a situation where patients can be misidentified and the individual performing the blood collection can be completely compliant with the Joint Commissions’ requirements, ” Ernst said. “From the perspective of a laboratory, I would recommend it follow a procedure that is one step higher than the requirement of The Combined Commission for positive patient recognition.

Ernst also stated a difference between The Joint Commission’s requirement and the protocols provided by the CSLI standards. “Where hospitals and laboratories adhere to the CSLI standard, they will automatically ask a patient to say their own name. But the problem is that the CLSI standards are voluntary standards. ”

There’s another fascinating perspective concerning The Joint Commission’s modified new requirement for patient identification. Within laboratories which use Lean and high quality management methods organized around “system of prevention” concepts, it is likely their own work flow requirements do need the phlebotomist or person collecting the blood sample to ask the patient to verbally say their name. After all, that simple step provides another important safeguard against a patient identification error.

Associated Information:

Letter from Center for Phlebotomy Education to The Joint Fee on the Changed Requirement for positive individual identification

Commentary by Center for Phlebotomy Education about the Changed requirements for positive patient identification issued by Joint Commission

Safety protocols for drawing blood released by The Joint Commission

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