Introduction. Positive patient identification (PPID) is critical to safe and accurate labeling of patient lab specimens. Accurate PPID is also an important priority of The Joint Commission’s National Safety Goals. Inadequate PPID compromises may lead to waste of time and resources, and in the worst-case scenario can lead to significant patient morbidity and mortality. With a focus on PPID, this initiative examined the occurrence of mislabeled and unlabeled lab specimens as well as compliance with wearing ID bands in a cohort of hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplant inpatients at a large pediatric quaternary care center.

Methods. Using the Plan-Do-Study-Act Model, this initiative details educational interventions directed at staff, caregivers, and patients.

Results. While nursing education and posted reminders did not reduce reported unlabeled or mislabeled lab specimens, we document an increase in the percent of patients wearing ID bands from 67.5% to 95.6% following both parent education and a patient-friendly poster campaign. This work identified that older children were more likely to wear ID bands. The median age of those correctly wearing ID bands was 12 years old versus median age of 1.9 years of non-compliant children.

Conclusion. The PPID initiative identified a problem with mislabeled lab specimens and poor ID band compliance. ID band compliance improved with educational measures. Younger children may need additional measures to promote these patients wearing ID bands and they should be examined as a special population in future projects evaluating PPID.