New Infant Identification Program Improves Safety and Patient Satisfaction


Paper Presentation

Purpose for the Program

To comply with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's recommendation for DNA sample identification of infants.

Proposed Change

MedStar Health decided to pilot the DNA Blood Spot program at Harbor Hospital to supplement its current infant safety method of infant and parent banding, employee name tags, umbilical cord detectors, foot printing, parent education, and locked units.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states it is essential to have a sample of blood or saliva from every infant that is provided care until it is discharged. The preferred sample is blood because saliva contains bacteria and enzymes that eventually affect the DNA sample. The problem with this collection is that there are issues with the storage of the tubes of blood from each infant. However, the DNA Blood Spot program samples several drops of cord blood on a treated filter paper immediately after birth. The samples are are then placed in a special treated envelope for long-term preservation and storage. One advantage of the MedStar program is that it uses cord blood and the infant does not have to endure a heel stick. The MedStar procedure is done immediately after delivery. Policies, procedures, staff education, provider education, parent education, and clinical competencies were all developed for the program. It was implemented at Harbor Hospital's Birthing Center by the nursing education staff. Harbor Hospital uses a labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum model, therefore, all staff were cross-trained. Information was shared with the providers at medical staff meetings and also through written communications. The outcomes that were measured were adherence rate for completion of the sampling and documentation and patient satisfaction. When audited there was 100% adherence to the sampling documentation and a significant increase in patient satisfaction scores related to recommending the hospital. An unexpected outcome was market differentiation because no other hospitals in the region were using this patient safety measure. Harbor Hospital has received a lot of positive press as a result of this program and has come to be known as the “safe harbor” for mothers to give birth their infants.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Patient identification is a nursing function and has the most profound implications for patient safety and security. A huge advantage of this program is the ability to give the parents the DNA sample for safe keeping for the future.