Safe patient care starts with accurate patient identification. Unique characteristics of the newborn population pose challenges for accurate and consistent patient identification. Hospitalized newborns often share similar birth dates and medical record numbers and, with multiple births, even share surnames. Unlike older patients, newborns are unable to actively participate in confirming this information and often lack distinguishing physical characteristics. Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority analysts estimate that an average of nearly two newborn misidentification events occur daily in Pennsylvania. Safety huddling, distinct naming systems, clinician awareness, and technology such as bar coding may help to decrease newborn identification errors.
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