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MEERQAT in action: Improving patient identification and procedure matching

MEERQAT team member Annie Curtin shares a great outcome that a client health service has achieved using the MEERQAT basemap on Patient Identification (Standard 5 of the national quality standards).

As Annie explains, “The Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) of the Emergency Department (ED) was concerned after one three-month period in which 13 risk reports were generated relating to incidents of incorrect patient sampling. Although no serious harm had come to any patients, the NUM was keen to reduce this rate of incidents and to avoid inconveniencing patients through having to repeat sample collection unnecessarily.”

In the course of two sessions involving fifteen staff from the ED, a self-assessment was completed using the MEERQAT Patient Identification basemap. There was great discussion amongst staff around several of the steps involved in patient identification and procedure mapping, which highlighted some gaps in staff understanding of the relevant protocols. The staff agreed on a number of actions to improve performance; some of these were the in-built suggestions within the MEERQAT tool and some were ideas generated by the staff themselves.

Annie summarised the outcomes: “The agreed actions were assigned to a number of individuals, with dashboard reminders through the MEERQAT system. Information was also included in the minutes of the staff meeting that week, so everyone in the ED knew what they were trying to achieve. One of the actions was a simple reminder notice posted on the chute that transports the samples to pathology: “Before you dispatch, check to see if your sample and label match”. After the first 8 weeks of implementation, there were no further incident reports relating to patient identification and procedure matching!”

The ED is continuing to implement other items in its action plan and the staff plan to conduct a follow-up self-assessment in the next two months.

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