patient identification in healthcare

Patient Identification in Healthcare: The Year in Review

patient identification in healthcare

Did accurate patient identification in healthcare receive more attention in 2015? (Photo courtesy of Pixabay: http://bit.ly/1MupdqE)

2015 was another breakout year for the healthcare industry. From the transition to ICD-10 to advancements (or lack thereof) in interoperability to the expanding role of big data, 2015 demonstrated that healthcare continues to be in the throes of a major transition spearheaded by rapid digitization of the industry. While the jury is still out on exactly what type of lasting impact the events of 2015 will have, one area that stands out is the increased attention of establishing accurate patient identification.

There are simply too many downstream activities affected by accurate patient identification in healthcare to continue pushing the issue to the back burner of priorities, so we were quite pleased that 2015 seemed to be the year where the topic of accurate patient ID is finally getting the attention it deserves at the front of the line.

Here is a recap of notable and influential patient identification news and events that we identified as the most impactful in 2015:

#1 – CHIME flexes its clout. Big time.

  • The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) issues national patient ID challenge: Few things get people excited about an initiative than monetary incentives. In March of 2015, CHIME issued a challenge to help discover the most innovative solution to patient matching. The incentive? 
Patient Identification in Healthcare: The Year in Review

(Photo courtesy of pexels.com: http://bit.ly/2jlGZGw)

Our take: CHIME’s national patient ID challenge is flat out smart. Dangling the financial carrot to the healthcare industry will surely spur innovative approaches to solving this issue and motivate health IT vendors to step up and address the challenge. Wholeheartedly backed by a coalition of influential organizations and individuals in healthcare, the challenge is poised to foster creative approaches to solving this dangerous and festering problem in healthcare.  

“We must first acknowledge that the lack of a consistent patient identification strategy is the most significant challenge inhibiting the safe and secure electronic exchange of health information. As our healthcare system begins to realize the innately transformational capabilities of health IT, moving toward nationwide health information exchange, this essential core functionality – consistency in accurately identifying patients – must be addressed. As data exchange increases among providers, patient data matching errors and mismatches will become exponentially more dangerous and costly.” (CHIME’s letter to Congress, May 7, 2014 http://bit.ly/1NVNvzk)

Our take: CHIME’s letter to Congress could be a watershed moment to finally push accurate patient identification into the forefront of priorities for the healthcare industry. Since CHIME is a very influential organization that Captiol Hill pays attention to, their public push to move forward on finding a viable solution to accurate patient identification in healthcare could prove to be the tipping point to solve this serious issue. In addition, at a Congressional hearing in June, CHIME publicly stated in a hearing convened by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) that advancing accurate patient identification in healthcare will, “radically reduce medical errors and save lives.”

#2 – AHIMA adds their voice and influence to push for a patient identification solution

Our take: As more well established and influential healthcare organizations lend their voices to solving the patient identification issue, the odds of discovering a solution will precipitously increase. Long viewed as a conscientious problem with too many complexities to solve, many healthcare professionals are finally coming to the conclusion that patient identification in healthcare is a single catalyst that directly influences the success or failure of many other initiatives in the industry: interoperability, health information exchange, and mHealth to name a few. We are pleased that AHIMA is more openly wielding its impact as a respected and trusted organization on such a critical issue in healthcare.

#3 – FHIR is great, but will interoperability never work without a national identifier

“There’s people out there who think that with FHIR we’ve solved all the problems. We haven’t, because we’re not authorized to solve lots of the problems” (Graham Grieve on frustrations of the moratorium Congress enacted to block funding research on a national patient identifier: http://bit.ly/1O3HbGK

Our take: Without sounding like a broken record or belaboring the point, for quite some time we have voiced concerns about advancing interoperability in healthcare without first addressing the need to establish accurate patient identification.  When you hear a quote like the one from Graham Grieve above from someone battling on the front lines of interoperability, it lends even more credence to the argument that it seems rather pointless and futile to continuing spending millions to advance interoperability in healthcare without having the ability to accurately identify patients in disparate health systems.

#4 – Biometric patient identification deployments continue to rise

  • More on this topic in next week’s post, but 2015 was a banner year for biometrics in healthcare. From single sign-on to access control to accurate patient identification, we observed a rapid increase in the deployment of biometrics at hospitals across the globe. Research firm Tractica forecasts that the nascent global healthcare biometrics market revenue will hit $3.5 billion in revenues by 2024, foreshadowing the tremendous potential of this technology and making it one of the most promising opportunities for the biometric industry.

What’s your take on the year on patient identification in healthcare? What moments or events stand out to you? Leave us a note in the comments section!

Next week: RightPatient® – The Year in Review — a short post of our major accomplishments during 2015. Stay tuned!

innovation is important in biometric patient identification

Why Experience Matters When Selecting a Biometric Patient Identification Solution

innovation is important in biometric patient identification

Evaluating experience is an important factor when deciding which biometric patient identification solution to implement. (Photo courtesy of pixabay.com: http://bit.ly/2jlLuAJ)

The following post was submitted by Jeremy Floyd, Healthcare Director with RightPatient®

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” — Albert Einstein

Investing in health IT technology is a complex process which often involves evaluating multiple vendor solutions before ultimately deciding to make an investment. Steering committees and hospital evaluation teams take meticulous care to carefully assess the pros and cons of each solution to determine the best fit for their organization. One key vendor attribute that should be included in the evaluation process is experience. However, the reality of health IT today is that a large swath of health IT technologies are brand new, borne from the massive shift to digital healthcare spurred by the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use. Consequently, many vendors don’t have a substantial track record of experience in their speciality to evaluate because their solutions are brand new and only recently entered the market. 

I am often asked at trade shows and conventions about our experience in biometrics and how that shaped our strategy when we developed RightPatient® – the healthcare industry’s most comprehensive patient identification solution that increases patient safety, reduces costs, improves the quality of care, and enhances the patient experience. People want to know how our past experience and long track record in global biometric identification management projects helped shape our patient identification platform and what lessons we learned from other verticals where biometrics is used that we were able to incorporate into RightPatient®. My answer is always the same…experience in biometrics matters. A lot. Here’s why:

— Experience breeds innovation – When we embarked on the journey to develop a biometric patient identification solution for the healthcare industry, we carefully studied our past experience with biometric deployments in different verticals (border control, voter registration, law enforcement, workforce management, national ID, financial services, single sign-on) to determine what we could learn from their success that would be integral ingredients for RightPatient®. The ability and flexibility to innovate jumped out as one of the most important deployment characteristics we knew RightPatient® needed – in other words, the ability to innovate as a patient identification vendor by consistently improving our platform to addresses the dynamic, and constantly evolving needs of the industry. 

For example, we identified the growing concern from hospital staff about the need to develop a wireless camera to identify patients bedside, or in special situations (e.g. handicapped patients) – a device unencumbered by USB cables and free from the often crowded workstation on wheels (WOW). We listened to customer feedback, leveraged our technological expertise in           biometrics, and developed a wireless camera with a sleek, modern design and touchscreen interface combined with fast photo capture and identification.

Innovation helps bring continuity to the fragmented healthcare market. It is the responsibility of any healthcare technology vendor to consistently cultivate new ideas that are a direct response to the evolving challenges healthcare systems face.  

— Experience brings variety – The ability to offer a choice of biometric hardware modalities for hospitals to use is another great example of how our experience in biometrics reminded us that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” technology. Offering a choice of biometric modalities to use for patient identification is important because although most biometric hardware devices work reliably on a large percentage of the population, factors such as skin integrity, age, and ethnicity can negatively affect the ability of these devices to capture biometric attributes for 100% of the patient population.

In addition, the use of a single biometric modality for patient identification in the modern healthcare age ignores the reality that effective patient ID must be looked at holistically, and technology implemented simply must have the ability to identify patients at ANY point along the care continuum – whether that is in person at a hospital or in a virtual environment such as a telemedicine or using a patient portal.  Instead of pigeonholing hospitals into using one modality, instead we offer a variety of modalities that can be used simultaneously to meet the new demands of accurate patient identification.

— Experience makes system integration seamless: 13 years of experience in biometrics has provided us with deep experience and expertise in system integration. Experience that taught us the importance of developing pre-built integrations of RightPatient® for various healthcare systems like Epic, Cerner®, Meditech, McKesson, and IBM Initiate® to becomes a seamless part of the provider workflow and maximize operational efficiency. Based on our track record developing biometric identification systems around the world, we understand that hospital IT staff is stretched thin with myriad responsibilities and commitments so we handle a majority of the pre-configuration and deployment logistics prior to go live that helps reduce the burden on hospital resources. Experience taught us that just like any other technology deployment, health systems who invest in biometrics for patient identification want a seamless experience that does not waste internal resources and a platform that instantly becomes a part of staff workflow.

Does experience matter when selecting a biometric patient identification vendor? Absolutely. Our dedicated team of scientific engineers and technologists deliver over 20 years of combined experience in healthcare, biometric technology, cloud applications, system integration, high-performance computing, and human factor engineering, ensuring that you will always be provided with innovative, scalable, and practical solutions that are the best possible fit for your needs.

Learn more about how we are leading the biometric patient identification market through creative innovation by visiting our Web site.

biometric patient identificationJeremy has worked in the biometrics industry for nearly a decade and has real world experience with fingerprint, palm vein, finger vein, iris and face recognition technologies. He currently oversees the RightPatient™ Healthcare division of M2SYS Technology, including sales, business development and project management. Before taking over the Healthcare unit, Jeremy spearheaded the growth of the core biometrics division, working closely with Fortune 500 clients like ADP, JP Morgan & BAE Systems to implement biometrics in large identity management projects.

strong single sign-on technology in healthcare helps increase patient safety and patient data integrity

New Podcast Addresses Importance of Single Sign-On (SSO) Tech in Healthcare

strong single sign-on technology in healthcare helps increase patient safety and patient data integrity

Our latest podcast with Ray Madril from Healthcast discusses the importance of adopting single sign-on (SSO) technology to increase patient safety and patient data security in healthcare. (Photo courtesy of Yoel Ben-Avraham on Flickr: http://bit.ly/2jlGADR)

The proliferation of data breaches along with the rising pressure to more effectively safeguard protected health information (PHI) in healthcare is fueling growth in the adoption of single sign-on (SSO) solutions. Designed to relieve the burden of password management while providing a more convenient mechanism for users to access their computer or to the network, SSO solutions offer distinct advantages over traditional passwords including:

  • Providing an air-tight security mechanism to authenticate users gaining access to network resources
  • Reducing IT support costs associated with password management and help desk overhead
  • Minimizing the risk and cost of enterprise data theft from users inside the firewall
  • Supporting regulatory compliance (HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.) with improved security
  • Leveraging existing network infrastructure for faster deployment
  • Allowing users to quickly lock and unlock their computers with a single proximity card swipe or biometric scan 

To dig a little deeper into the importance and urgency of adopting SSO solutions in healthcare, we contacted Ray Madril of Healthcast and scheduled a podcast session to tap into his knowledge and covered the following topics:

  • An overview of the current health IT data security landscape and why establishing a secure single-sign on credential is now considered mission critical for the healthcare industry
  • The impact data breaches have on the healthcare industry and how a strong SSO solution prevents breaches and their damaging effects
  • How implementation of a SSO solution impacts provider workflows and why is this important to patient safety
  • E-prescribing is changing healthcare by demonstrating that health IT has become a critical component for the efficient delivery of medicine and cost-effective patient treatments. What role does a secure SSO solution have to support efficient and secure EPCS?
  • The different form factors for SSO solutions and the impact of using biometrics such as a fingerprint with an SSO solution to ensure patient safety
  • How a successful SSO implementation increases patient safety

Healthcast is RightPatient’s exclusive SSO partner and we recently joined forces to help increase patient safety and provider stronger patient data access security.  

Download a copy of the SSO in healthcare podcast and listen to it on the go! Have a friend or colleague that you feel would benefit from the podcast on adopting SSO for stronger data security in healthcare? Please forward them the link. 

Have an idea for a podcast? Submit your entry to: jtrader@rightpatient.com along with a suggested guest for the topic.