Archive May 2019 XX, No. 5

Ideas That Work: HIPAA Compliance

Call for Patients by Number, Not by Name.

Northern Virginia Surgery Center
UP NEXT Call out numbers instead of names in the waiting room.

When patients show up for surgery, our front desk receptionist hands them a numbered tag and writes the number on the envelope in which we keep their perioperative paperwork. Nurses call out the number instead of patients’ first names in the waiting room when it’s time to bring them back for surgery. Family members hold onto the tags while they wait; we use the same number to call them to join their loved ones in recovery. At discharge, patients turn in the tags, which we wipe down and bring back to the front desk. We ordered 160 plastic tags for $20 from a business supply catalog ( and bought loose-leaf binder rings for about 50 cents each to make the rings easier to hold.

Linda Frix, RN, BSN, CAPA
Northern Virginia Surgery Center
Fairfax, Va.

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