breast cancer prevention patient safety tips

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Breast Cancer Prevention

breast cancer prevention patient safety tips

Learn more about possible ways to prevent breast cancer.

The following guest post on patient safety and breast cancer prevention was submitted by Meghan Belnap.

Each year, over 300,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. The precise cause of this type of cancer is unknown, but there are certain things that have been proven to increase a person’s chance of getting breast cancer. Most people know that avoiding radiation or carcinogenic chemicals can reduce breast cancer risks, but you may be surprised about these breast cancer prevention tips.

Oral Contraception May Be Harmful

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, taking certain types of hormonal birth control pills increases a woman’s breast cancer risk by 50 percent. This occurs because the pills alter hormone levels throughout the body and end up affecting breast tissue. The most dangerous oral contraceptives are ones that contain progestin and estrogen, so you may want to switch to non-hormonal birth control or pills that contain only progestin if you are worried about the possibility of developing breast cancer.

Alcohol Is Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Risks

Medical research has found that even drinking just one alcoholic beverage a day greatly boosts breast cancer rates. Women who have three alcoholic beverages a month are 15 percent more likely to get breast cancer than women who do not drink any alcohol. Alcohol increases estrogen levels, so it can cause estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer to develop. It is also a toxic material that can harm individual cells, and damaged cells are more likely to mutate into cancerous cells.

Eating the Right Foods Does Matter

Preventing breast cancer isn’t just about eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet. Including breast cancer fighting foods to your menu can be extremely beneficial. Foods that contain antioxidants can prevent oxidative cellular damage, and some foods contain compounds that have been shown to kill precancerous cells. Cancer preventing foods to add to your diet include broccoli, garlic, walnuts, apples, flaxseed, pomegranates, and turmeric.

Conclusion

It may be impossible to completely prevent breast cancer, but these things can greatly reduce your risks. If you do develop breast cancer, the key to survival is detecting it and receiving treatment as soon as possible. New developments in radiology make it possible to target areas containing cancerous cells, so it is possible to treat breast cancer without harming the rest of your body. Find more information about these technological advancements online or talk to your doctor. It is important to be aware of any changes to breast tissue and contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice something abnormal.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

protecting healthcare data

Healthcare Records: How to Protect Patients’ Sensitive Information

protecting healthcare data

The explosion of online sensitive healthcare data now available online must be secured to protect patient privacy and advance data integrity.

The following guest post on protecting sensitive healthcare record data was submitted by Rachelle Wilber.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 requires that any entity that is privileged to collect or store sensitive patient healthcare information keep the information secured and protected against unauthorized access or use. A violation of the HIPPA law has serious implications to any healthcare practitioner or facility. By being vigilant and taking these action steps, you can help to protect the sensitive information of the patients who visit your healthcare facility.

Cloud Encryption
Cloud-based data storage and applications service providers are allowing healthcare organizations to use their own encryption keys. These keys are unique to your facility and your own information technology officers can create them. By using these customized encryption keys for data that your healthcare facility uploads to the cloud, you can reduce the risk of unauthorized users gaining access to usable information. If a hacker did get into your database, they would be unlikely to be able to break the encryption key.

Coding Sensitive Data

In addition to encrypting data, you can also code it as it is entered. For example, if a patient has HIV, that condition could be given a numeric code rather than the name of the virus. Only authorized users at your facility would know what the code means.

Healthcare Administration

When you are ready to further your healthcare career and learn more techniques on coding and encryption of sensitive data, consider enrolling in one of many healthcare administration master’s programs that many universities offer. These accredited programs help you to master all aspects of administration that are essential to running a productive, efficient and compliant doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. You will learn about data administration as well as coordination of services, billing, communications and data analysis.

Physical Security

The physical security of patient information is also important. If your facility uses or still has any paper medical charts, they should be kept under lock and key and signed in and out when they are used. Laptops, tablets and other electronic devices should be password-protected. The computers and tablets should also be locked and put away when they are not in use.

By employing these measures in your healthcare facility, you can protect the sensitive patient data that you collect. Maintaining the security of the data helps to keep you compliant with the law. These measures also show to your patients that you care and respect their rights to privacy.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700

University Health Reaps Benefits of Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

University Health Reaps Benefits of Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

photo biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Augusta, GA based University Health Care implemented photo biometrics for patient ID to increase patient safety.

The following post was submitted by Brad Marshall, Enterprise Development Consultant with RightPatient®

Biometric Patient ID No Longer a Movie Prop

It wasn’t so long ago that the term “biometric patient ID” wasn’t even in the lexicon of healthcare providers as a reliable means to improve patient safety, eliminate duplicate medical records, prevent medical ID theft, and increase patient data integrity. In fact, just a few years ago, many providers had never even heard of biometrics used to accurately identify patients and those that did know about the technology could only relate to what they had seen on the movie screen or read in a science fantasy novel. 

Today, the use of biometrics for patient ID in healthcare has sharply risen as more healthcare organizations realize the technology’s potential to better protect individuals from the perils of misidentification and better understand the ability of select biometric patient ID solutions to be seamlessly integrated into EHR workflow.

However, what stands as a true testament to the rising use of biometrics for patient identification in healthcare is the ability of the technology to demonstrate realized return on investment (ROI) against the goals set forth prior to implementation. In other words, the true “proof in the pudding” of biometrics for patient ID can be benchmarked through multiple objectives — how significant was the reduction in duplicate medical records and chart corrections? What percentage of patients are opting into the biometric patient ID system? Has investment in biometrics for patient ID streamlined patient registration? Is the technology effective in reducing cases of fraud and medical ID theft?

University Health Deploys Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

In most cases, biometric patient identification deployments must mature to a certain level in order to measure the impact on improving patient safety and the additional aforementioned goals and objectives. In other words, beyond restricting medical ID theft and healthcare fraud at the point of service, it’s impractical to expect immediate results after deploying biometrics for patient ID. The system must be in place for a certain period of time before healthcare providers can expect to reap additional benefits — categories such as patient acceptance and enrollment and reduction of duplicate medical records for example.

Augusta, GA based University Health Care System is a classic example of a healthcare organization that had clear goals and objectives in mind prior to implementing biometrics for patient ID and are now realizing benefits from their choice of photo biometrics over other hardware alternatives. University Health officials have been pleased of the simplicity of photo biometrics where patients take their photo and are instantly identified followed by the retrival of their correct medical record in the Epic EHR system. With over 99% of patients choosing to enroll in the biometric patient ID solution, University quickly amassed a database of 50,000 patients to participate and the numbers keep increasing each day.

Perhaps equally important is the fact that since implementing RightPatient®, University Health has seen nearly a 30% decrease in chart corrections, defined as the health information management (HIM) department’s need to go back into a chart and correct any data entry errors during the patient registration process. RightPatient® has also been instrumental to eliminate write–offs directly related to patient fraud — in one case a patient attempted to commit healthcare fraud by using multiple aliases in the ED to illegally obtain prescription drugs. Photo biometrics quickly caught the patient by revealing they had previously enrolled under s separate identity and University Health officials were able to quickly notify on-site authorities who sprang into action.

Conclusion

University Health made a conscious choice to implement photo biometrics for patient ID after carefully evaluating the characteristics and limitations of fingerprint and palm vein. They concluded that photo biometrics was the most accurate, hygienic, and versatile solution available with strong potential for future deployment at additional patient touchpoints including mobile devices, patient portals, and telehealth — touchpoints along the care continuum that fingerprint and palm vein just do not have the ability to address.

Learn more about University Health’s use of photo biometrics for patient ID and stay tuned for more posts on what benefits our end users realize after investing in photo biometrics for patient ID. 

patient ID in healthcareBrad Marshall is an Enterprise Development Consultant with RightPatient®. With several years of experience implementing both large and small scale biometric patient identification projects in healthcare, Brad works closely with key hospital executives and front line staff to ensure project success.

patient ID biometric modality realities

How to Choose the Right Biometric Modality for Patient ID in Healthcare

patient ID biometric modality realities

Misinformation and confusion surrounding biometric patient ID hardware modalities are cleared up in our latest white paper.

The following post on patient ID in healthcare was submitted by Michael Trader, Co-Founder and President of RightPatient®

We are excited to announce the release of a brand new white paper entitled: Choosing the Most Effective Biometric Solution for Patient Identification in Healthcare (Assessing the characteristics and capabilities of biometric options). The white paper assesses the capabilities and limitations of fingerprint, palm vein, and photo biometrics (iris and facial recognition) for patient ID in healthcare.

The journey to select the most suitable biometric modality for patient identification in healthcare should include an assessment of hardware capabilities and limitations. This white paper was written and published as an educational resource for healthcare organizations to develop a deeper understanding of device characteristics and limitations. Due to persistent misinformation about the ability of select biometric modalities to perform accurate patient ID in healthcare and confusion on the realities of real world results post implementation we feel that this white paper stands as an authoritative guide that should be included in any and all comprehensive due diligence of biometrics.

Over 14 years of experience in real world implementations of fingerprint, palm vein, and photo biometrics has provided us with a wealth of knowledge and research on how these modalities operate when deployed and an authoritative resource to determine which devices can deliver on the promise that effective patient ID solutions offer:

  • Elimination of duplicate medical records and overlays
  • Prevention of medical ID theft and healthcare fraud
  • Increasing and sustaining patient data integrity
  • Increasing patient safety
  • Providing accurate patient ID at ANY point along the care continuum

Did you know that select biometric modalities covered in the white paper do not have the ability to accomplish some of these goals? We encourage you to contact us and request your copy of this important and informative white paper to provide a more thorough background and understanding of biometric patient identification realities versus marketing fluff.

We are confident that you will find value in our research and analysis based on a decade and a half of experience in the biometric identification management industry and extensive experience with all of the modalities covered in the white paper. Please click here to request a copy of the research report. 

rightpatient intrepid healthcare about current state of patient identification in healthcare podcastsMichael Trader is President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®. Michael is responsible for overseeing business development and marketing activities, government outreach, and for providing senior leadership on business and policy issues.

gaining patient trust is a simple process

6 Things Medical Institutions Can Do To Gain Patient Trust

gaining patient trust is a simple process

What are some simple, yet effective things medical institutions can do to gain patient trust?

The following guest post on building patient trust was submitted by Andrea Bell.

Health institutions play an essential role in people’s lives today. With increasing health consciousness, the demand for health institutions including hospitals and private clinics has reached a whole new level.

This increase in demand has naturally resulted in the development of a large number of healthcare institutes – all of them founded with an aim to take over the market. This is why it has become challenging for businesses operating in the health sector to gain patient’s s loyalty in the long run.

Research shows that the number of hospital jobs increased by 306% in 2015 with 172,200 payroll additions compared to the 42,400 jobs created in the same industry in 2014, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you are concerned about holding on to your healthcare customer base at a time when newer facilities are emerging all around you, worry no more. Remember, when patients choose a specific healthcare provider, they consider a number of financial, emotional and personal factors.

We decided to write this article to help you build long-term relationships with your patients in a way that they would never prefer any other facility over yours. Here are the 6 things you can do to gain patients’ trust.

1. Build close relationships with patients

When it comes to choosing doctors and hospitals, patients usually make choices out of emotional and personal values and feelings. Of course, you can trumpet your customer ratings and your hospital rankings as much as you want on your Facebook page, but patients will always make the final decision with their hearts.

To build strong and solid relationships with patients, you need to create a culture where the hospital staff develops close bonds with patients as part of their professional duties.

This includes gestures like conversing with patients when they have long stays at the hospital, relieving them in a friendly manner, and literally treating them like you would a family member who is sick. Most patients are vulnerable and in utmost need of love, care and compassion as they fight with health-related challenges. Like any other industry, word-of-mouth can make or break your business, and is a more effective marketing tool than any other if you want to gain customer loyalty in the long run.

The reputation of a business and its brand image improves gradually through personal recommendations of those who have experienced the service. 74% consumers say word-of-mouth is a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

2. Create a seamless experience for patients

The last thing a patient is interested in is understanding how your facility’s processes work. They are looking for care, and expecting the hospital staff to take care of the rest for them.

The staff must take some steps to elevate confusion, and direct patients personally instead of letting them take multiple rounds of the sprawling building in an unhealthy physical state.
The hospital staff should be trained to be super proactive and help patients move through the processes as quickly as possible. They should also be very informative and use different methods to assure patients that everything is under control and that they should just sit back and relax. This will help patients feel confident that they are in the right place and in the right hands.

3. Ensure that safe and certified hospital staff and equipment are used

Going to the hospital can be a very daunting and uncomfortable experience for many. This is mainly because most patients are afraid to receive bad news, wrong treatment or any other similar possibility.

As a medical professional dealing with a plethora of patients on a daily basis, these concerns may not seem like much to you, but these can weigh very heavy on the hearts and minds of the patients.

This is why it is so important that these concerns are addressed even before the treatment is started.

Such anxiety issues could be resolved by employing a number of strategies. You could put up certificates in places where the patient can easily see them such as hospital walls, websites etc.

In other words, as a health facility, do not underestimate the fear that patients feel as they enter your premises for the first time, and also understand your role in helping alleviate that fear. This, in the long run, makes a lot of business sense too.

4. Deliver information in its most simplified form

Patients are most likely to trust doctors on information related to symptoms, treatment, medications and costs. Very few of them will dig up stories related to their health on the internet.

The key to developing patient trust is giving information as simply as possible. Using complicated medical jargon may give the impression that the doctor is highly qualified, but one thing is for sure, it will definitely confuse the patient and cause more anxiety about what’s going to happen to them next.

So it is crucial to provide information to patients in a way that they can easily understand. The hospital’s web presence could also be used to deliver that information so that the patient does not feel the need to consult other online sources which may give the wrong information regarding their diagnosis.

This is one way to ensure that patients keep coming back to you for all of their health-related problems because they have developed a sense of trust for the hospital staff and their services.

5. Be transparent

Because of the huge number of patients that doctors have to see every single day, it can sometimes become challenging to give each one a personal touch.

At the end of the day however, it is essential. I No matter how busy the schedule, it is important to realize that these patients are average people dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety about their diagnosis; they need to know that they are understood and respected.

Small gestures like a smile, eye contact and special attention can go a long way to show the patient that the doctor cares about how she feels and what she is going through.

6. Speak with one brand voice

A strong brand image can although play a great role in instilling trust within the patient, however, it could be further enhanced by doctors by building a strong personal relationship with the patient which is somewhat consistent with the brand as well.

This brand might not show on official brochures or websites, but it can become a part of how the hospital staff interacts with patients on a daily basis.
In other words, the hospital staff should be trained in such a way that they promote the hospital’s brand by showing compassion, going the extra mile for each patients and treating them as guests, and not a liability.

Gaining patient’s trust is an element which is important to the overall success of the business. Patients having trust in any health institution is a form of partnership with them and can ensure consumer loyalty in the long run along with other benefits and hence, should always be encouraged by hospitals.

gaining patient trustAndrea Bell is a Freelance writer and a content contributor at www.computermateinc.com, which provides Medisoft V21 software. She writes mostly on technology related stuff. Live simply, give generously and a sports lover. Find her on twitter @IM_AndreaBell

healthcare technology

Making Medical History: The Benefits of Working with Advances in Healthcare Technology

healthcare technology

Advances in healthcare technology means more data availability, less suffering, and smarter doctors.

The following guest post was submitted by Lizzie Weakley.

Technology is changing every day, and as new innovations are adopted they have a ripple effect across multiple industries that helps improve our lives. Whether it’s the latest smart appliance, mobile app, or kitchen gadget, these things comprise increasing changes in the way we shop, think, and communicate. One of the industries where these changes are most profoundly noticed is in the medical field. Here are some benefits to working with new advances in healthcare technology.

Online medical information

As mobile devices have come to outnumber people, millions are searching for healthcare information online. While a website covering the causes and treatments of a particular malady is not a good substitute for a diagnosis by a qualified physician, more hospitals and clinics are seeing the value in providing patient portals as a means to allow patients access to their own records and to information and apps that can help with the doctor/patient relationship, such as appointment scheduling, billing review, and additional info on specific conditions and treatments. All of this is not only more convenient for the patient, but frees up time for over-worked medical staff.

Better treatment means less suffering

The most obvious way medical technology has improved is in providing better treatments, tools, and medications which speed up diagnosis and treatment. This not only reduces suffering but improves the chances of recovery for patients. Technical training such as a master’s of science electrical engineering enables other professionals to contribute to life-saving developments. Revolutionary 3D-printed custom prosthetics and computerized implants help transform amputees into athletes and enable chronic heart patients to enjoy a quality of life unthinkable a decade or two ago. The ability to provide effective technology-fueled solutions is a rewarding experience for healthcare workers, and one which will continue as technologies improve.

Doctors are more informed and accessible

With a smartphone traveling patients can reach physician networks, and doctors can access digitized medical libraries, big data analysis, and the latest medical studies. They can monitor patient vitals via downloaded data from a new generation of portable health monitoring devices. Improved imaging devices allow doctors to view and share accurate and detailed “digital” views of patient anatomy. Video conferencing has led us to the age of “telemedicine” where doctors can check in on remote patients or consult with other medical professionals. Doctors from around the world collaborate in diagnosing and treating victims of disease in Haiti or natural disasters in Japan.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.

Twitter: @LizzieWeakley
Facebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley