Did you realize that the medical record your health care professional is relying on in treating you may or may not be yours? Patient matching is the process of verifying that the medical record accessed on your behalf is a complete and accurate record of your medical history and current issues. Even if you are asked for your first and last names and your date of birth, it's pretty likely someone in that database has those same three patient identifiers.
Almost 10 percent of medical records kept within a single clinic or hospital lack patient matching. If your provider is part of a larger organization with several facilities or locations, lack of patient matching can occur up to half the time. Misidentification leads to dangerous and costly medical errors, such as having the wrong test, getting someone else's test results, medication errors and even a mistaken diagnosis.
To be safer, volunteer several key identifiers when you are in the health care system: name, birthdate, address, Social Security Number and phone number. And review the highlights of your medical record anytime a treatment decision needs to be made, to make sure that health care information is all yours.