NEW DELHI: Wrong names and personal details of patients have come in the way of the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital recording patients’ medical histories. At least 22 per cent of the patients who come to the hospital for treatment provide incorrect personal details, a recent random sampling survey carried out by the hospital found.
A centralised database cutting across departments helps the hospital maintain patients’ records for years. When returning patients come for treatment at a later date to the hospital, the doctors can promptly access these records without having to conduct investigations such as blood and other tests again.
With the current state of events, doctors need to conduct tests and other diagnostics from scratch, which eventually increases the waiting time for patients.
“We analysed the information furnished by patients and found that many of them have given wrong information about their contact number, father’s/husband’s name, and in some cases even their own name. Patients often cannot gauge the importance of why the hospital needs mobile numbers of patients. With basic inputs missing, it becomes difficult for us to make a data bank,” said an official at the hospital.
As a long-term plan, the hospital plans to come up with unique health identification cards for its patients on the lines of those at AIIMS, another Centre-run hospital. This would help the hospital streamline its services. Patients can turn up at the hospital with this unique health ID and access services.
Low awareness levels on the importance of the hospital database and privacy concerns are some of the reasons why people provide incorrect information.
Currently, the hospital is focusing on beefing up the awareness level among patients on filling medical forms correctly. In addition to providing pamphlets and displaying instructions on walls, the hospital staff give out instructions to patients.
False data can have grave consequences
Patients furnishing incorrect information can result in grave problems. “For example, a patient fills any random information and, at a later date, the patient expires at the hospital. The patient’s name cannot be changed on the death certificate unless there is a court order,” said an official at Safdarjung Hospital.