November 7, 2018 --
Serious adverse events can occur when staff members place one patient's medical images in the PACS folder of another patient. To address this issue, Dr. Srini Tridandapani, PhD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and colleagues developed a plan to simultaneously take a photograph of a patient at the point of care along with the portable x-ray. The strategy is fully automated and does not require any technologist intervention.
Among the first 400 images obtained with this approach, there was a potential wrong-patient error, which the photos helped to identify and correct.
Interestingly, taking photos at the same time as the portable abdominal x-ray exam provided clinical context to ensure that a feeding tube was placed in the proper location. In some instances, no feeding tube was seen in the radiograph, which prompted the radiologist to look at the photo. If no tube was seen in the patient's nose or mouth in the photo, it meant that no follow-up call was necessary. If no feeding tube was seen in the abdomen on the x-ray, but it was seen in the photo, a call was placed to the patient's nurse to see if there was an error.