Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (D.N.P.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Donna Rinker

Second Advisor

Dianne Slager

Academic Year




Approximately 98,000 Americans perish annually due to medical errors and adverse events associated with the limited access to or incomplete pertinent patient health information (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022; Obrien et al., 2021). Pertinent patient health information includes patients’ allergies, current medications, current medical diagnosis, blood type, insurance, and emergency contact. The purpose of this project was to examine the efficacy in using File of Life cards in reducing medical errors among patients with substance use disorders (SUDs), and the perception of patients and healthcare providers ease of use, satisfaction of using the File of Life cards, and improving medical decision making and preventing errors.


A two-month quality improvement project was conducted at a clinic in the Northern Midwest. Patients were individually educated about and received a File of Life card during their Medication Assistance Treatment (MAT) appointments. Questionnaires were distributed to patients and the healthcare staff. Patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) were analyzed to determine the number of times they visited the local ED and the number of reported medical inconsistencies or errors during this QI project’s implementation.


Among patients, 16% used their cards and 100% perceived the cards easy to use and useful with their care. Two patients visited the local ED and no medical errors were reported. Among healthcare providers, 100% perceived the cards easy to use, 87% considered the cards useful with medical decision making, 93% considered the cards useful in preventing medical errors, and 0% encountered any of the patients that received the cards.


File of Life cards may improve medical decision making and decrease medical errors. They may help improve patients’ overall satisfaction and confidence with their healthcare. However, no statistical analysis was conducted due to no pre-qualitative data, short duration, and small sample size. Therefore, a larger sample size, and longer duration of time is needed to confirm these findings.