Regardless of how busy the practice is, one thing is always consistent: patients need your attention. Every ailment needs a treatment that is going to help the patient heal and best meet their needs. Part of what separates a happy and fast-healing patient from the rest is having an appropriate patient care plan.

Here are some of the most important people to include when setting up a care plan:

Primary Care Provider

Doctors have the longest history with the patient. In some care relationships, the primary doctor can remember patient details without even referring to their chart. Because they have such deep knowledge into the patient’s background, they should almost always be involved, at least for final approval of treatment.

Nursing Staff or Nursing Director

For inpatient care, a lot of the work is going to be executed by the nursing staff. Drug administration, regular vitals checks, and countless other activities that ensure the patient is safe and being treated appropriately.

Nurses often rely on nursing care plans, which are standardized documents that help staff recognize and document nursing diagnoses. They also contain specific treatment regimens for the respective diagnoses, and are essentially the “game plan” for best relieving symptoms of the patient’s condition.

As care is administered, it’s important for the assigned staff to perform proper patient verification at each stage described in the patient care plan, lest it result in a potentially devastating error.


Since they’re receiving the treatment, patients should be actively engaged by their care providers. They may not be able to make a clinical self-assessment, but they will have more information about their condition, personal history, and the circumstances leading to their condition than anyone else.

The American Academy of Family Physicians crafted a template that can help providers work with patients to build a patient-centered care plan. The simple questionnaire helps the patient understand what their treatment will be, commit to that treatment, and understand how they can expect to improve by following the treatment.

Front Desk Personnel

You might not think so, but the staff at the healthcare facility’s front desk have a role to play in carrying out a patient’s care plan, too. Why? Because every treatment recommendation set forth by the care providers needs to be administered to the right patient.

“Well, that’s obvious,” you say. It seems obvious, yes, but it doesn’t stop patient misidentification from happening. A Johns Hopkins University study found that 92% of patient record duplication errors happened during registration. And mistakes like pulling the incorrect record due to name similarity or the same date of birth are common, too – about 61%, according to a 2016 Ponemon Institute report.

Your front desk staff can set up the rest of the team for success by correctly verifying patients as soon as they register for their appointments. After going through a positive patient ID process, every step of the patient care plan will fall into place.

Patient misidentification actually can affect a lot more than your delivery of care. Practice’s reputations can be damaged, patients can be mistreated, and both the facility and the patient can be left holding the bill in the event of medical identity fraud. To learn more about what can happen as a result of patient misidentification, check out this free downloadable whitepaper.

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