• Study
  • Published July 2015

Use of temporary names for newborns and associated risks.

  • Classic

Wrong-patient errors are considered to be never events. Newborns are assigned temporary names if they don't have a name immediately after birth, and this may increase the rates of wrong-patient errors. The need for first and last names in electronic health records has led to a generic first name convention of "Babygirl" or "Babyboy," which is in use in more than 80% of neonatal intensive care units in the United States. This pre-post study found that implementing specific first names that incorporated the mother's name reduced the incidence of wrong-patient errors by 36% compared to the generic naming. These errors are rare even at baseline, but given the ease of changing the naming convention, this is a pragmatic approach to improving the safety of computerized provider order entry for hospitalized newborns.

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