Mayo’s Photos Part of Error Prevention

Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic is getting a mug shot of each patient with hopes that attaching it to the patient’s record will prevent errors. Mayo officials say the photos supplement other measures, such as asking names and birthdates multiple times before a procedure or service is performed. The technique also helps staff identify patients in the waiting room without calling their names—a boon to patient privacy.

Whether it’s a blood transfusion, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or a surgery, Dr. Chet Rihal told Rochester, Minn.’s Post-Bulletin, “We’ve got to make 100 percent certain we’ve got the right patient. We’ve got to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that we are identifying the patient correctly.” Otherwise, the consequences can be dire, he said.

The patient’s photo pops up on the electronic medical record (EMR) when it’s brought up, triggering the physician’s memory, he explained. “I think it will be helpful when the patients call their doctors,” Rihal said.


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2 Responses to “Mayo’s Photos Part of Error Prevention”

  1. Jeri Thiede says:

    There is another benefit to having patient’s photos with their record – preventing medical identity theft. One doctor’s office took my picture with a webcam. My other doctor’s office took a copy of my driver’s license with photo on it. People should not object to these photos as it may save you from a nightmare in the future. As the HIPAA coordinator at our facility, I have read many stories about medical identity theft and the problem those people have with clearing their names, not to mention possibly erroneous info in their medical chart, ie, wrong dx, meds, blood type, etc. It doesn’t look like many hospitals or doctor offices are making sure they are treating the correct person, and, they also do not assist the victim with trying to clear their name and record. They are the ones who should eat the monetary loss because they were not treating the person who actually owned the insurance! The victim should not be left holding the proverbial ‘bag.’

  2. Lisa Stroud says:

    I worked for a doctor’s office in the early 90’s long before EMR that took instant photos of patients for their charts. It make a hugh difference in the physicians remembering the patients and was impressed by the creativity of that office. I am glad to see it finally being used with more advanced technology.

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