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Practice Management Nuggets

86 EpisodesProduced by Jean EatonWebsite

Practice Management Nuggets is a weekly interview series with practice managers, healthcare providers, or trusted vendors who support healthcare practices. Topics help managers implement, maintain, or improve business and practice administration so that health care providers can focus on providing q… read more


How To Correctly Identify Patients And Use Photo ID | Episode #083

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Patients should be asked to show their Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) card and photo identification when visiting a practitioner office.

But . . . it is not appropriate to keep a photocopy of the drivers license (or other photo ID) as part of the patient’s health record.

Correctly collecting patient identification is important!

Failure to correctly identify patients can lead to serious problems such as medication errors, as well as privacy breaches.

Positive patient identification is critical to ensure patient safety and protect patient data.According to industry research cited by RAND, 7-10% of registering patients are misidentified upon entry.

Patient misidentification contributes to:

  • 27% of radiation errors
  • 29% of medication errors
  • 5% of wrong-patient/wrong-site surgeries
  • 850 medical errors and 20 deaths related to blood transfusions

And, of course, we must deal with the administrative headache of privacy breaches and medical identity theft and duplicate patient records!

Practice Management Success

Are you feeling frustrated with the same problem over and over again in your clinic?

Or solving one problem just to find another problem popping up?

Don’t know where to go for help?

Many new and seasoned clinic managers find that they need help from time to time with questions like the ones that we discussed in this podcast episode.

To access all the resources mentioned in this podcast, join us at Practice Management Success!


In Canada, health ministries have underscored the importance of correct patient identification when they issue Patient Safety Alerts. Correct patient identification criteria is also included in Accreditation Canada standards.


  • Care – Good patient care starts with correct patient identification. Incorrectly identifying patients contributes to medication, transfusion, procedure and testing, errors.
  • Good Documentation – Avoid incomplete, inaccurate, and duplicate patient records!
  • Gatekeeper –Each caregiver has the responsibility to identify the patient before providing a health service. I think that the family physician has an added role and responsibility of the patients’ gatekeeper to additional health services to ensure that the documentation of patient identification is correct at the time of registration.
  • Billing – Avoid rejected billing and re-work when you correctly identify the patient and record the data correctly the first time. Patient demographic information is best corrected while the patient is present at the clinic instead of trying to contact the patient after they leave the clinic.
Don’t Photocopy The Photo Identification

You should record that you viewed the photo ID and verified, but do not record the unique number associated with the photo identification (for example, driver’s license number). Do not photocopy the photo identification.

Remember, we have a responsibility to collect the least amount of information necessary. Viewing photo id to verify the identity of the patient, is a reasonable step to ensure the safety of the patient and to prevent an error. Recording the drivers license number or photocopying the drivers license is not necessary to provide a health service and an unnecessary (and probably illegal) privacy and security breach.

Members of Practice Management Success receive templates of the new patient registration form, registration procedure, and the collection notice. If you are not a member yet, Click here and let me help you with your Practice Management Success!

Show Notes

Recorded May 21, 2019

You can advance the audio to these time markers:

00:38  How To Record Patient Identification

03:48  Risks Not Correctly ID Patients

05:05  Patient Safety Alert

05:20  Importance Of Correct Patient ID

08:15  Health Care Card Security

Education to the patient to ensure that they understand the importance of correctly identify the patient means they get the right health care service.

10:35  Verify Patient ID

14:40  Policies and Procedures

15:16  New Patient Registration Form

16:49  Don't Photocopy The ID

Remember - if you don’t need the information  to provide a health service, don’t collect it. You don’t have legal authority to make a photocopy the ID or the drivers license number.

17:57  Don't Photocopy the AHCIP Card

19:40  I’m happy to help you to identify a good process in your clinic to correctly identify patients so that you can continue to provide good care to your patients.

Do This Now

Members of Practice Management Success can access the video of this episode and the resources here in the membership.

If you are not a member of Practice Management Success, yet—what are you waiting for?

Click here and register now!

With your membership to Practice Management Success, you will get great tips, tools, templates, and training that you can use right away to help you start, grow, maintain, or fix your healthcare practice.

New! Podcast Key Word Search Tool

Did you hear something on today’s podcast that you would like to go back and listen to again?

Or, maybe you heard something on one of our previous podcasts that you want to listen to again, but you can’t remember which one and you would like to find it quickly and easily.

Well, that’s easy to do now!

If you heard something on this podcast that you want to re-visit, go to PracticeManagementNuggets.Live/search and enter the keyword in the magic box.

You will automatically be brought to the podcast at the exact spot where we talked about it.

This video key-word search tool uses the new Searchie app. If you would like to know more about this, visit


Rate and Review the Podcast

I am honoured that you choose to spend your time with me today. Thank you for the opportunity to share my obsession about privacy, confidentiality, and security with you!

Reviews for the podcast on whatever platform that you use is greatly appreciated!

When you provide your honest feedback it helps other people just like you find content that may help them, too.  If you received value from this episode, please take a moment and leave your honest rating and review.

Jean L. Eaton, Your Practical Privacy Coach

and Your Practice Management Mentor

with Information Managers Ltd.

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