Committed to Elevating Patient Safety

woman wearing a surgical mask and sitting at a computer workstation next to a patient

A care team member positively identifies a patient before proceeding with care.

Making Positive Patient Identification a Red Rule

MaineHealth has implemented the Positive Patient Identification (PPID) Red Rule to ensure that patients only receive care that is specifically relevant to them. The PPID Red Rule and policy states that all patients must have their identity verified with at least two distinct identifiers prior to any procedure, service or care intervention in a health care setting.

Red Rules are absolutes that everyone must always follow without exception – like always wearing your seat belt when riding in a car. MaineHealth care team members have equitable ownership to hold themselves and their colleagues accountable to this rule.

“Excellence in quality and safety starts with doing the little things right every single time,” stated MaineHealth CEO Andy Mueller, MD. “This begins with making sure we have the right patient in front of us every time. It sounds small and simple, but given the complexity of the care we provide and the enormity of the population we serve, at times it can be a challenge.

“Making positive patient identification a Red Rule ensures that the care journey always begins with a good start.”

Refining Safety at MaineHealth

Maine Medical Center implemented the PPID Red Rule first, shortly followed by implementation across the system. Solidifying PPID as a Red Rule has achieved a few things, said Mark Parker, MD, MaineHealth Vice President & Associate Chief Quality Officer.

“There’s been work done to codify our system safety strategy,” Parker explained.  “We also have a high priority around Universal Protocol (procedure time outs) where we make sure we have the right patient and are marking and agreeing upon the exact anatomic location of a procedure. The fact that PPID is a Red Rule also helps leaders develop a plan for addressing a situation when the rule is not followed and for coaching the care team members involved.”

Patient safety enhancements continue to be a top priority across all of MaineHealth’s locations, and are critical to our values of excellence and being patient-centered, as we strive toward our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.

Quality & Safety Starts with ‘Just Culture’

MaineHealth is working to implement “Just Culture” systemwide. Just Culture fosters an environment where everyone feels respected and comfortable to speak up about a concern without fear of negative consequences.

When it comes to quality and safety, the goal is to recognize and normalize reporting safety- related incidents. Part of that work incorporates CUS (concerned, uncomfortable, stop), a safety escalation tool. “If people are saying they are concerned or uncomfortable, we need to stop, listen and evaluate,” says Alexandra Penney, Senior Director of Patient Safety and Risk Management at MaineHealth. “It goes back to the old motto of ‘see something, say something.’”

Patient and Visitor Safety

Patient and visitor safety is a priority at all MaineHealth locations. Learn more about patient and visitor safety at MaineHealth.