Advanced Training For CT Technologists

How are you checking patients in for their exam and confirming their identity during Covid?

check-in covid golden rule identity patient communication patient id Dec 08, 2020

So everyone is wearing a mask these days and social distancing. And as you can imagine, many provider offices have moved to some sort of "distance style" or contactless check in process. For example, our outpatient offices are having the patient call or text from the car or parking lot. Then we text or call back and let them know when to come in. This obviously prevents crowding in the waiting areas. I have also heard that some places are using an app to check in as well. This type of remote registration is all well and good in these Covid times, but that also means checking your patient's identity before the exam is still vitally important, and perhaps more so. Because the mask and remote check-in process puts some distance and ambiguity between the patient and their destination, let's say a CT scan; you had better be doubly sure you have the right patient before you load them up with contrast and turn on the radiation. Regardless of the phone call they made to the front desk to say, "I'm here!", OR regardless of the phone app they used to notify they were outside and ready, always-always-always use at least 2 identifiers for every patient before you scan them. Usually, this will be their name and date of birth. Some centers, especially hospitals, may end up checking 3 identifiers, and add a medical record number to the workflow. Either way, I don't need to explain to you why this is so important. And it seems obvious, right? But then, why do we sometimes scan the wrong patient or the wrong body part or perform the wrong exam? You may not want to believe it, but it does happen. This is why I encourage my great Techs to follow Dr. Sajewicz's Golden Rule: Do the right test on the right patient for the right reason. If you keep this in mind for every single study you do, then mistakes will be minimized. You can learn about this and a host of other essential information in my Patient Communication Course. "What else is in the course?", you ask. Well, how about the 8 questions that you should ask every patient who walks through the door? Doesn't that sound like something you should should have learned before starting CT? Now don't get nervous, this and many other critical and easy to remember facts about patient communication can be found in my course. Just go to for more details.

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