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I was misidentified. You could be next.

October 6, 2009
by Stacey Kramer
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What would happen if there was somebody walking around your city with your name, going to your doctor? I’ll tell you …
I have flat feet, I really do. I’ve known about this for, umm, about 30 years now, and because of it have had orthotics in my running shoes for about 20 of them. But ever since I had a child, they seem to have gotten worse (which I read makes sense according to ligaments and tendons and mechanical stuff). Anyway, before making an appointment with a podiatrist, which I will undoubtedly need, I scheduled one with a top sports medicine doc who I’d seen a few years back to make sure that my pronating feet are indeed responsible for some unpleasant knee pain (they are), and to see if anything can be done about it (there is—physical therapy). The doctor I went to see is really amazing — I can’t stress that enough. What he is also, though, is fast. I mean astonishingly fast. I mean though you see other docs before him who I think are in training, when he enters the room it’s a matter of minutes and you’re done. I don’t mean that he’s not complete in his exam. He is. What I mean is, he damn fast. I called to schedule an appointment and happily discovered that his office has moved about 40 blocks and is now located a couple of blocks from my office. What better way to spend my lunch hour, no? When I scheduled, the person asked me if I’d seen him before. I explained that I had, but not at that location. Fast forward to yesterday when I arrived 4 minutes ahead of time and the receptionist joked with me and asked if I had hit the wrong button. Apparently, my appointment had been cancelled. What had happened was that as the practice has computerized patient records as well as a contracted automated call reminder service. Turns out that there is another Stacey Kramer in New York City (shocking) and that person wasn’t able to make the appointment (would have been funny if she’d shown up). When I had scheduled the appointment, I wasn’t asked for my DOB or my address or other goodies to verify who I was. Great to have the right systems in place; better to use them correctly; and even better if your feet don’t turn.

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Comments

True. They need to be tight. Please, though, not another password.

Indeed. When I was in the office, one associate was scolding the other and said, 'See, all you had to do was ask her for her date of birth. You can't assume anything.' I asked if they had at least made me younger!!

Stacey,
Sounds like the scheduler, unlike your doc, was TOO fast.

Good reason why you need to use at least 3 verifiers to ID the patient in the hospital, and even one in this office would have done the trick. It's not shocking at all that there are multiple Stacey Kramersheck there's even several Daphne Lawrences floating around! Imagine if you name was Joe Smith or Jose Rivera....there's a good reason ID procedures need to be tight.

stacey

Stacey Kramer is Managing Editor of Healthcare Informatics. She writes feature stories and...