The Joint Commission issues R3 Report on new requirement for newborn identification

Newborns are at a high risk of misidentification due to their inability to speak and lack of distinguishable features. In addition to well-known misidentification errors in the hospital setting after delivery such as wrong patient/wrong procedure, misidentification also has resulted in feeding a mother’s expressed breastmilk to the wrong newborn, posing a risk of passing bodily fluids and potential pathogens to the baby.

To address misidentification, The Joint Commission has created a new newborn identification requirement for all accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals, effective January 1, 2019. The requirement is part of one of The Joint Commission’s existing National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) that requires hospitals to “use at least two patient identifiers when providing care, treatment, and services.” To help hospitals comply with this requirement, a new R3 Report provides in-depth rationale, references and evidence that were employed during its development.