South Carolina Hospital's Plan to Reduce Medical Errors
New program reduced the rate of mislabeled blood specimens by 90 percent.
Simple errors at hospitals can have disastrous results. To help reduce the mislabeling of blood specimens, the South Carolina Hospital Association partnered with consulting firm Outcome Engenuity to become more proactive in preventing such errors. The result: a toolkit called “The Final Check” which outlines steps to ensure accurate labeling. After drawing blood from a patient, the nurse places a pre-printed label on the vial(s) and the reads the last three digits on the label followed by the last three digits on the patient’s arm band aloud in front of the patient. If the numbers do not match exactly, then the problem can be investigated and fixed immediately. Since implementation, the procedure has reduced mistakes by 90 percent at five hospitals in the state and is being used in at least one hospital in neighboring North Carolina.