Patient identification

Accurate identification of patients, resulting in the administration of intended clinical interventions, is one of the most fundamental components of the provision of good health care.

Wristbands containing patient information have been the standard method of identifying patients in hospitals for many years. Although there is evidence, that suggests that there are patient safety risks associated with the use of patient identification bands. In 2008, the Australian Health Ministers endorsed the specifications for a standard patient identification band (external site), for use in public and private health services.

Patient identification and procedure matching is also embedded in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (external site)

Patient identification principles

  • All patients must be correctly identified at the time of registration and admission (general or emergency department) and at all times throughout throughout their hospital stay.
  • Inpatients should wear a form of identification, and health care providers should have guidelines in place that informs this identification process.
  • The primary purpose of an identification band or other identification mechanism is to identify the patient in the clinical setting. The use of identification bands to signify clinical alerts is secondary.
  • Hospitals/health services will need to determine how they meet the specifications for identification bands at a local level.

More information

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality
Address: 3 Forrest Place, Perth
Phone: 6373 2212

Last reviewed: 23-07-2020
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Patient Safety and Clinical Quality