EHR Identification System Helped Reduce Errors in Hospital NICU

October 15, 2014 in News

A Bronx-based hospital was able to reduce errors in its neonatal intensive care unit by adjusting its electronic health record system to include a unique identification system, according to studies presented by hospital officials, MedPage Today reports.

Study Details

During the annual American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, Jason Adelman, patient safety officer at Montefiore Medical Center, presented findings from study abstracts that built on previously published research.

In one study, Adelman and colleagues implemented a formula to create a first name for newborns.

According to Adelman, hospitals often identify neonate patients by giving them a temporary name, such as “BabyBoy” or “BabyGirl,” which greatly increases the risk of confusing patient charts (Wickline Wallan, MedPage Today, 10/14).

Montefiore’s system allowed newborns patients to be named using a combination of:

  • A number;
  • The mother’s first name;
  • The letter “s”; and
  • The baby’s gender (Dvorak, FierceEMR, 10/14).

In another study, Adelman and colleagues between January 2012 and June 2013 updated the hospital’s EHR to include an identity verification function for NICU patients. The function would not allow health care providers to start an order entry until they entered a patient’s:

  • Age;
  • Initials; and
  • Gender.

Study Findings

The first study showed the new naming system reduced the error rate from 66.8 per 100,000 orders to 33.5 per 100,000 orders.

Meanwhile, the second study found that the new identity verification system helped to reduce near miss wrong-patient orders by about half. Specifically, the study found a 284 near miss wrong-patient orders per 100,000 order sessions recorded between January 2007 and June 2010, compared with 123 near miss wrong-patient orders per 100,000 order sessions during the study time period (MedPage Today, 10/14).

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