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Safe at Harris Health


Verifying Patient Identification

Key Message

  • Verifying patient identification is the basis of effective care.
  • Failure to properly identify a patient may result in patient safety issues, a violation of the patient’s privacy rights, and may impact the patient’s satisfaction with the care, treatment or services they are receiving.

Verify two patient identifiers by asking every patient, every time

The two patient identifiers used at Harris Health are:

  1. Patient’s Name
  2. Patient’s Date of Birth

If you have multiple patients that have the same name and date of birth, each patient’s medical record number, address, or other personal identifying information must be used as additional patient identifiers. Unless it’s an emergency circumstance, workforce members are not to provide care, treatment or services, including sharing patient information, until the patient’s identification can be verified.

Ask your patients their name and date of birth, do not tell them

ALWAYS ask the patient:

For your safety, can you please tell me your full name?

And what is your birthday?

NEVER ask the patient:

You are ____ and your birthday is ____, correct?

Is your name ____ and your DOB is ____?


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