Interventions to Reduce Patient Identification Errors in the Hospital Setting: A Systematic Review

The Open Nursing Journal 11 Aug 2021 SYSTEMATIC REVIEW DOI: 10.2174/1874434602115010109



Patient identification is considered as a fundamental part of the care process and a relevant resource for safety practices in hospital settings.


We aimed to review the literature on interventions to reduce patient identification errors in hospital settings.


A systematic review of effectiveness using The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodology was conducted. A three-step search strategy was utilised to explore primary research published up to March 2020 in English, Spanish, and Portuguese across eight databases. Grey literature was also assessed. The titles and abstracts of the studies were screened for assessment of the inclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently appraised the full text of the selected studies and extracted data using standardised tools from JBI. Due to the heterogeneity of studies and insufficient data for statistical pooling, meta-analysis was not feasible. Therefore, the results were synthesised narratively.


Twelve studies met the review criteria; all were rated at a moderate risk of bias and four different groups of interventions were identified: educational staff interventions alone and those combined with a partnership with families and patients through education; and information technology interventions alone, and combined with an educational staff strategy. Although most studies showed a statistically significant reduction in patient identification errors, the overall quality of the evidence was considered very low.


High-quality research is needed to understand the real impact of interventions to reduce patient identification errors. Nurses should recognise the importance of patient identification practices as a part of their overall commitment to improving patient safety.

PROSPERO Registration Number: CRD42018085236

Keywords: Patient safety, Patient identification systems, Hospital, Inpatients, Nursing, Systematic review.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub