Patient Mismatching is Medical Error Problem, But We Don’t Treat It As Such, Why?

Dan Munro shared this recent stat about patient mismatching and medical errors.

I can’t say I’ve heard many people talk about patient mismatching as a medical error. I haven’t seen us treat patient mismatching the way we treat other medical errors and that’s unfortunate since it’s as much of a medical error as anything else.

I certainly hear many people talk about the challenges of patient mismatches. I also know of companies built just to work on the patient mismatching problem. However, it seems that most people just treat the problem as a feature that can’t be changed. It’s almost like we’re ok with a certain amount of patient mismatching. That’s wrong since accepting patient mismatching is accepting medical errors.

Many people look at patient mismatching and blame it on not having a national patient identifier. While we all agree that a national patient ID would solve some of the problem, it certainly wouldn’t solve all of the problems. Patient mismatching would still occur even if we had a national patient ID.

The best solutions I’ve seen so far to avoid as many patient mismatches as possible is to create an ongoing system for cleanup and biometrics. The later is a powerful solution and the costs to implement biometrics into your patient matching program has come down in cost. I hope we see more and more of it across all of healthcare.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.