Patient identification: It takes two

Dear teammates,

Misidentifying patients can have life-altering consequences.

It’s an issue we need to improve immediately to keep our patients safe.

Our policy requires us to use two patient identifiers – name and date of birth – with any patient interaction, whether we are registering them in the system, scheduling a procedure, performing a procedure, administering medication or treatment, or transporting them from one department or facility to another.

How to do this is simple: ask patients to state their first and last names and dates of birth. Do not state the information to patients and ask them to confirm, and avoid using patients’ room or bed numbers. Both have caused errors.

It’s important to know that it is NOT a violation of patients’ privacy under HIPAA to use a patient’s name when talking to another teammate about the patient’s care or disposition. That said, be aware of your surroundings and who is nearby.

You’ve been hearing about the “It takes two” campaign during Teammate Forums. We hope it serves as a good reminder to all of us about the right way to identify patients.

We all need to use the correct two patient identifiers: first and last name and date of birth. Keep our patients safe by remembering “It takes two.”


Tavia Buck
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital

Carolyn Donohue
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Roper Hospital

Pennie Peralta
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital


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