When you check in at a clinic or hospital in New Mexico, you will likely receive a clipboard with a sheaf of papers to read and fill out. You may speak to two or three people after you turn these in, but before you see a physician, and each of these communication opportunities also comes with the inherent risk of a mistake. At the law office of Curtis & Lucero, we recognize that errors in the registration process can make the difference in whether or not a patient receives the proper care.

According to Privasent, patient identity errors are a major issue during registration, in part due to the following:

  • Unfamiliar temporary staff
  • Busy waiting room
  • Inadequate workflow protocol
  • Deficient registrar training

There are other challenges, such as a patient who uses the names Richard and Rick interchangeably, dozens or even hundreds of patients with the same name, and misspellings that come about because registrar staff is unfamiliar with foreign names.

If you fall victim to mistaken patient identity, you may undergo duplicate tests and/or have your health insurance claims denied, as well as many other expensive outcomes. Fortunately, most of these types of mistakes are discovered before they can cause a serious adverse health event. However, in one Johns Hopkins study, documentation errors led to fatal outcomes for two misidentified patients. 

All health care facilities should have policies and procedures that prevent registration errors, and staff training for everyone involved in the process should cover these thoroughly. More information about hospital errors is available on our webpage.