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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Error Prevention: Patient Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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National Patient Safety Goal: Identify Patients Correctly

Two patient identifiers should be used at any stage of the laboratory total testing process. This is of particular importance when collecting a patient sample. Examples of acceptable patient identifiers are

  • Individual's full name
  • An individual-specific identifier, such as
    • birth date
    • hospital number
    • medical record number
    • other assigned unique identification number

If a patient is able to respond, it is also important to ask the patient to state his or her name.

Specimens must be labeled in the presence of the patient.