patient privacy patient data

Top Patient Privacy Concerns With Healthcare Data Integration

patient privacy patient data

Learn more about the privacy implications when patients share health data online in this guest post from Avery Phillips. (Photo courtesy of Flickr.)

The following guest post on patient privacy was submitted by Avery Phillips.

In many industries, the proliferation of mobile, cloud, and data collection technology is far outpacing the ability of regulatory bodies to keep up. This is especially true in healthcare, partly due to the sensitive nature of patient records and partly due to widespread adoption of mobile health tracking by both practitioners and the general public.

Consumer-generated data is one significant challenge in legislation and education related to privacy, as it isn’t yet protected. Additionally, the long-term impact of tracking and sharing one’s health data through social networks isn’t fully understood.

Data breaches in the healthcare field have already proven that people’s medical histories, social security numbers, and addresses are vulnerable. Cloud technology paired with monitoring devices is giving healthcare providers access to real-time data, and a lot of it. This improves the quality of care, but comes with severe breach risks. While legal understanding catches up to the reality of big data, healthcare providers need to go above and beyond legal requirements to protect patient privacy.

Consumer-Generated Data

The risks of consumer-generated data haven’t been fully explored, but what we do know is that sharing health data online is “a digital tattoo.” That data follows users, is unregulated, can be sold to third parties, and used by hackers or identity thieves.

Platforms like Fitbit and Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg for providers. Wearable technology is allowing patients to receive real-time information and communication from professionals and gives providers access to a constant flow of actionable health information. That relationship evolves with each new innovation, but responsibilities concerning its collection and use haven’t been explored.

Breach Risks

In September of 2013, Advocate Medical Group suffered one of the largest data breaches in history. Four million records, including names, addresses, and social security numbers were taken by hackers.

As new services are introduced, and hackers develop new ways to subvert security, it can be difficult to keep employees up-to-date. An improperly trained employee might fall for a phishing email, accidentally use an unsecured app or cloud service with their personal mobile device, or share login information that enables access to private records. In 2016, 60 percent of all patient information breaches were due to hacking, but not all hacks are the direct cyber attacks we tend to think of. An employee opening the wrong email and clicking the link is a far easier way for a hacker to gain access than, for example, a brute force password crack.

Refusal to Share

Many patients may not realize it, but one threat to their security can occur if a healthcare provider refuses to share their information. Information blocking can come in many forms, such as prohibitive pricing, contracts that block users from accessing their information, and business practices intended to exclude competitors and prevent referrals.

These alleged practices put additional financial burdens on patients and compromise their privacy by restricting access to their own records. Many of America’s biggest vendors and healthcare providers have signed onto a pledge to combat this practice, but it has yet to be put into law.

The advent of rapidly evolving mobile technology is presenting new possibilities in data collection and improving the quality of patient care. On the other hand, the sparks of innovation are vulnerable to attack and mismanagement by unscrupulous business practices. It’s important for healthcare providers to invest in data security and breach recovery contingencies, as well as develop best practices to prevent misuse.

Author bio:

Avery Phillips is a freelance human who loves all things nature (especially humans!). Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.

patient safety in assisted living facilities

Best Practices for Keeping Patients Safe in Assisted Living Facilities

patient safety in healthcare

Learn more about best practices to ensure the highest levels of patient safety in assisted living facilities. (Photo courtesy of pexels.com)

The following guest post on patient safety in assisted living facilities was submitted by Paul Birung.

Assisted living facilities are modern health solutions that enable patients to live in the much-needed comfort of their home. These are centers that cater for varying services depending on who they are caring for. It is therefore important to note that in the same facilities considered a safe haven, every patient has his or her own character. There are those that remain calm during their stay, but there are others that are known to wander depending on the issue at hand. Especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s diseases including other forms of dementia.

It is for this reason that assisted living in Hilton Head including other areas should consider the following best practices for keeping patients safe and at ease in the health facility.

Identify and control wandering triggers

This is mostly important for patients with dementia and other types of illness that may increase the risk of wandering. Caregivers should meet and share with the family members so as to gain more insight into what issue is actually causing the patient to wander. Dementia patients have varying beliefs; one may believe that he/she is going to work, and another believe that he is looking for a lost family or friend – each day comes with its own assumption. Understanding these beliefs will give the nurse the best approach to take this information and use it to gain a more personal focus that will help manage the patient.

Embrace and connect with the patient

The feeling of having people that care around you by itself is therapy at some level. The patient should experience the sense of togetherness – one family. Assisted living facility should always train their staff to embrace the patients, to make them feel safe, and have a sense of belonging. To display the Zen atmosphere, make sure the room temperature is habitable, do not play loud music, and always avoid bright lighting.

Proper Supervision of at-risk patients

A detailed evaluation test should be done on all the patients to identify the different levels of at-risk patients. If a patient is deemed extreme, he/she should never be left unwatched especially when waiting for test or treatment. Constant supervision of these patients is strictly advised in assisted living facilities.

Explore the beauty of the exteriorpatient safety in assisted living facilities

Assuming that the assisted living facility has colorful and clean exterior, as long as there is supervision the outside is considered the excellent habitat during the day. Fresh air, green grass, artistic pathways, beautiful flowers and the natural lighting provides the ideal relaxation atmosphere that would calm a racing heartbeat. Recent studies have proven that daily exercise,

 

 as well as the freedom of moving around, have a tendency of reducing the constant movement of dementia patients.

Design protocols in case the worst happens

Effective protocols should be put in place to take care of the nomadic patients who fail to stay at a single place. This should include working with the police and the local residents when a patient is missing or has sneaked out of the facility. The facility should have a recent image of the patients as well as a few possessions kept in a plastic bag. These possessions can be used by the canine unit to pick up the scent for easy tracking of the patient.

Digital solution to the problem at hand

There are also digital solutions such as specialized pressure pads and sensors that can be installed on patient’s chairs and beds that would alert the caregiver once the patient gets up. Radio transmitters are also available to determine where the patient actually is. It is imperative that these practices are implemented to ensure the patients are safe and always at ease within an assisted living facility.

Author bio:

Sean Riggs is an enterprise correspondent and SEO expert. You can connect with him here: LinkedIn

patient ID in healthcare

The Top 6 Reasons to Visit us in Booth #1252 at 2017 HFMA ANI

patient ID in healthcare

Visit us in Booth #1252 at the 2017 HFMA ANI Conference and learn more about the benefits of biometric patient identification.

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

If you are heading to Orlando this weekend for the HFMA show, please take a moment while you are walking the Exhibit Hall to visit RightPatient in Booth #1252. We will be on hand offering demos of our biometric patient identification solution and Smart App that converts any smartphone or tablet into a powerful patient recognition device. Not convinced? Here are the top 5 reasons why RightPatient is a must stop while navigating the exhibit floor:

  1. See the RightPatient Smart App –  As we just recently discussed on this blog, the RightPatient Smart App provides healthcare organizations the ability to extend the power and reach of our patient identification solution to any smart device equipped with a camera. Using augmented reality and deep learning to identify patients, the Smart App is an ideal tool for clinicians to quickly and accurately identify unconscious patients, verify patients prior to medical procedures, improve patient safety, and securely capture and share clinical images. 
  2. Learn How to Humanize Health IT – As you may already know, the RightPatient patient ID solution captures a high resolution image of the patient’s face and then links that image to their medical record. Several of our existing customers have provided feedback on these patient photos via their clinicians who say that these pictures serve an important clinical purpose and are helping to improve the patient experience. These patient photos are helping clinicians feel more comfortable and better connected to the patient often serve as reminders about the clinical context of the patient. Learn how RightPatient is helping healthcare organizations across the country become more patient-centered than ever before.
  3. RightPatient is a Finalist in CHIME National Patient ID Challenge – We think this is kind of a big deal. Being named a finalist in this important initiative that could very well change the face of patient identification in healthcare as we know it, we recognize that being named a finalist is a true testament to the validity of our solution. It’s worth mentioning that of the finalists named, RightPatient is the only vendor that has a solution already being used in healthcare by many hospitals throughout the country. Stop by and learn why our solution was named a finalist in the Challenge. Go Team RightPatient!
  4.  Safeguarding PHI – Cybersecurity has become quite a hot topic in healthcare as we have witnessed one hospital system after another falling victim to attacks and rushing to bolster their security defenses. We are elated to see the increased emphasis placed on protecting networks but what about taking the same steps to protect data? Network security and data security are two separate areas and any upgrade to cybersecurity defenses simply must be met with commensurate upgrades to safeguard protected health information (PHI). After all, the digitization of healthcare has opened many new doors to access PHI (e.g. – patient portals, mHealth apps, telemedicine), shouldn’t healthcare organizations be proactively taking measures to implement patient ID solutions that can secure it?
  5. Learn about our SaaS model – With our software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, healthcare organizations can implement the patient ID platform for a small monthly fee that includes software, hosting, and support. And don’t worry. Our artificial intelligence system runs in the secure, HIPAA-compliant RightPatient Cloud to minimize deployment and IT costs. What could be better? Stop by the Booth to learn more.
  6. Accurate Patient ID Helps Revenue Cycle Management – Since revenue is a dominating theme of the conference, we thought we would mention that it is a proven fact that increasing patient identification accuracy will help prevent duplicate medical records, reduce denied claims, and improve the revenue stream. Stop by Booth #1252 and learn how you can improve revenue cycle management through an investment in RightPatient.

Skimming the agenda, the HFMA staff has again assembled a very compelling, highly informative conference packed with outstanding curriculum. Don’t forget that the Exhibit Hall is a treasure trove of education too, and we encourage you to take time and stop by to see why our patient identification solution is dominating the healthcare industry. 

Take a moment to watch this short testimonial video from George Ann Phillips, Administrative Director of Revenue Cycle for University Health System in Augusta, GA:

Drop us an email at: sales@rightpatient.com to pre-schedule an appointment or drop in and see us at your convenience. We can’t wait to see everyone in Orlando!

patient ID in healthcareBrad Marshall is a Senior 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 identification for patient safety

Mobile Patient Identification with the RightPatient Smart App

patient identification for patient safety

Demonstration of the RightPatient Smart App to a HIMSS attendee.

Amidst the hoopla and chaos of this year’s HIMSS conference in Orlando, we introduced a new feature for our cloud-based RightPatient biometric patient identification solution: the RightPatient Smart App. This is kind of a big deal for the healthcare industry because the RightPatient Smart App has the power to turn any smartphone or tablet into a powerful patient recognition device.

In other words, this is anything but a ho-hum development in the concerted effort to adopt more modern patient ID technology. Allow me to explain…

As we have written about before, increased recognition of the critical importance of accurate patient identification for patient safety has played an important role in our own research and development of the RightPatient cloud biometric patient identification solution.  I don’t think I’m alone in saying that most patients see patient identification as the part of our healthcare experience that starts with sitting in front of a registrar at a healthcare facility so they can obtain our insurance information and make sure we are who we claim to be.

However, anyone who has spent time as a patient in a healthcare environment knows that most medical facilities don’t stop with establishing accurate identification at the point of registration. You may have your ID checked before medication disbursement, prior to the administration of a medical procedure, or perhaps just before surgery. This is important for patient safety, and to reduce the risk of adverse events from wrong patient procedures. 

The problem is that many patient identification mistakes are still regularly made across the healthcare industry. This can cause irreparable harm to patients and providers in many cases. Fortunately, we provide the most innovative technology in the market to solve this problem. 

For example, the RightPatient Smart App is a modern, mobile patient identification solution that fills an important void to help healthcare organizations improve compliance and patient safety. Here is a breakdown of the Smart App features and their value to patient identification in healthcare:

  • Mobile patient ID ubiquity: As mentioned earlier, the RightPatient Smart App turns any smartphone or tablet into a powerful mobile patient identification tool. Is this a big deal? Absolutely. The Smart App improves the ability of clinicians and others responsible for care administration to be responsible stewards of patient safety and compliance. It can be used as a multi-factor authentication tool along with another form of identification or act as a standalone patient ID device.  Recognize patients anywhere, anytime, with any smart device.
  • Patient photo: The Smart App matches against the patient photo that was captured by RightPatient during registration for positive identification. We have previously written about the importance of capturing high-quality patient photos and linking them to their electronic health records. RightPatient ensures that a standardized, high-quality enrollment photo is always captured. This increases the efficacy of the Smart App and ensures that providers have images that they can rely on for clinical context.
  • Identifying unconscious patients: There are few things in healthcare more risky than treating an unconscious patient without access to their medical history. The RightPatient Smart App allows clinicians to easily identify unconscious patients through their smartphone to retrieve the patient’s medical record. The Smart App opens the door for accurate patient identification in traditional and non-traditional settings (e.g. – oncology, medical records release, EMTs, home health) – places where perhaps verifying a patient’s identity is required but may not have traditionally been on the compliance radar. The Smart App fills in the patient ID compliance holes that exist in a healthcare organization – enabling higher levels of patient safety and helping to reduce medical errors and risk.

Medical errors caused by patient misidentification will continue to rise with increased data sharing and human error. In fact, the ECRI institute recently included patient identification errors in its most recent annual top-10 list of patient safety concerns. Powered by the RightPatient cloud platform, the Smart App will strengthen patient safety, reduce risk, and more effectively humanize the healthcare experience – a critical element of improving patient satisfaction and empathetic care delivery. Design and development of this new feature was a direct result of our 15 years of experience in biometric technology, listening to the needs of our customers, and delivering a practical solution that increases the power and reach of our industry-leading patient identification technology. You asked. We listened.

Have questions about the RightPatient Smart App? Drop us an email at info@rightpatient.com or visit here to request a free demo.

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health_tech

How Tech Is Disrupting The Healthcare Market

The following guest post on disruption caused by healthcare technology was submitted by Ryan McEniff.

Technology is affecting every aspect of society, business, and personal life. Every industry has seen change because of the hi-tech revolution over the last 20 years. Industries like fiance, banking, transportation and manufacturing have all been impacted. Health care is no different. Investors have found many new possible products and solutions that are disrupting the traditional healthcare market today and in the future.

The folks over at Minute Women Home Care have created the following infographic about how tech is disrupting the traditional healthcare market. It shows how tech has changed many of the interactions that you have with health care professionals, how global investments have changed health care, and the different trends that are expected to result from these changes. Take a look and learn about this interesting topic that will impact all of us.

Author bio: This article was written by Ryan McEniff, a senior health care expert and owner of Minute Women Home Care, a home health company located in Lexington, MA.

healthcare-disruption-tech

 

 

 

 

 

data centers in healthcare

Technology In The Medical Field: How Data Centers Have Transformed The Industry

data centers in healthcare

The advent of data centers has helped the healthcare industry connect with the rapid rise in digitization. Photo courtesy of pexels.com)

The following guest post was submitted by Kara Masterson.

While hospitals and health care centers once used paper records only, today’s clinics and hospitals use almost entirely electronic health records, including digital scans, online drug records and web-based diagnostics. All of these technologies are hidden in the data center, which is typically a large building on or away from the campus. These data centers have certainly changed the face of health care.

They Allow for Seamless Patient Records

Data centers make it much easier for clinics and hospitals center to share patient records. For example, someone who has completed a medical technologist online program and who is studying blood samples in one part of the country can upload test results to a doctor across the country, and the doctor can then store the results in the data center.

They Speed Up Health Care

Because patient data is kept in one centralized area, health care can be sped up from the moment one steps in the emergency room until he or she is discharged. Doctors no longer have to wait to treat a patient until they receive and look through a lengthy patient chart. In addition, doctors who are at home can view how their patients are doing via records and results on data centers.

They Improve Patient Outcomes

According to healthit.gov, electronic health records significantly improve patient outcomes in numerous ways. They keep new doctors from prescribing medications that would interact with other prescriptions. They keep a close eye on patient allergies, and they automatically bring up warnings for doctors to see on certain patient diagnoses. This is particularly important in the emergency room setting.

They Help with Mobile Health

According to Exscribe doctors are increasingly taking advantage of data centers and electronic health records to communicate with and even treat their patients using mobile technology. They can communicate via health records and check test results online. This is particularly important for doctors practicing in remote and rural settings.

Data centers have taken all of the information that doctors, nurses and other health care workers used to have to dig for and have put it at their fingertips. With a few keystrokes and clicks, clinicians can know a patient’s health history, find out if there are any potential drug interactions, regulate a pacemaker and diagnose a patient who is miles away from them. Certainly in the next decade or two, even more tremendous changes will come to the health industry thanks to impressive data centers.

About the author: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

patient identification identifying the right patient

The True Meaning of Patient Identification Innovation

patient identification identifying the right patient

Patient identification “innovation” is defined by the ability to address both present and future complexities and nuances of patient behaviors.

The following post on patient identification innovation was submitted by Michael Trader, Co-Founder of RightPatient®

I get it. Change is hard. It’s human nature to resist change, yet as we are often reminded, true progress in life comes when we step “outside the box” and “outside of our comfort zone” to change our perspective and foster growth (thank you mom and dad for that advice) Despite our inherent inability to accept it, change is inevitable and a fact of life. Anywhere you look around, change exists in one form or another and there is little doubt that change can be challenging.

In the healthcare industry, patient identification as we know it is going through radical changes. While this may have been breaking news a few years ago, most in the industry are now well aware that traditional patient identification methods are no longer effective and have the potential to place a patient in harm’s way via medical errors, duplicate records, and medical identity theft. As more healthcare organizations recognize and understand the importance of abandoning antiquated patient ID procedures in favor of more modern, secure technology to improve patient safety I think it’s important to put into context what it actually means to be “innovative” in patient identification. In other words, I often see the word “innovative” used to describe technology solutions built to only address one facet of patient ID instead of being designed to not only address the complexities of today’s environment, but also equipped to cover the challenges of patient identification in the future. 

I recently wrote a post for Health Data Management where I discuss how the behavior of current and future generations plays an important role in designing patient ID technology that has the capability to ID a patient no matter where they enter and exit along the care continuum. This is an important innovation “ingredient” that must be built into any modern patient identification solution and any technology that limits where and when healthcare organizations can accurately identify a patient is simply not innovative. 

How does RightPatient define patient identification innovation? I’m glad you asked.

When we began our patient identification technology solution journey a few years ago we understood a key fact that is often overlooked and frequently not factored into the discussion and analysis of platforms designed to address the complexities of today’s patient ID environment. That simple fact is that the digitization of the industry has broke down traditional barriers of where and when a patient can either receive care along the continuum or access protected health information (PHI). Patients seeking care or data access no longer see brick and mortar healthcare facilities as the first and only place where they can consume healthcare.

The dawn of patient portals, telemedicine, connected health apps, and other virtual environments has fundamentally altered healthcare consumption by shifting care from traditional environments to virtual ones. For many patients, the first thought when they seek care or data access is to grab their phone, or login to their PC or tablet instead of hopping in their car and driving to the doctor’s office or local emergency department (ED).  To us, innovation is bringing to market a patient identification solution that has the capability to truly address patient identification at ANY point along the care continuum, brick and mortar OR virtual environments.

RightPatient’s innovative spirit doesn’t stop there. We also define patient identification “innovation” by these additional solution attributes and milestones in our company’s history:

  • The RightPatient team was recently honored to be named a finalist in the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge. This is a true testament to the viability of our biometric patient identification solution and it should be noted that RightPatient was the only entry submitted from an individual/vendor who currently has customers actively using the technology in the healthcare market. 
  • We officially launched the RightPatient Smart App during this year’s HIMSS show, which turns any smartphone or tablet into a powerful recognition device. The RightPatient Smart App uses augmented reality and deep learning to identify patients, can quickly and easily identify unconscious patients, allows clinicians to verify a patient’s identity bedside prior to medical procedures, and has the potential to drastically improve patient safety and reduce the risk of adverse events.
  • We built the RightPatient platform to enable healthcare organizations to capture a high resolution image of the patient during the enrollment and identification process. This photo is immediately linked to the patient’s unique medical record and subsequently stored in our cloud environment, following them wherever they go within the care continuum. The photo allows healthcare organizations to verify a patient’s identity in virtual environments (e.g. telemedicine, patient portals) outside of brick and mortar settings. After all, the value of any patient identification technology rests in its ability to accurately ID a patient, no matter where they are. Patient photos also help to humanize health IT by putting a face to a name. Many of our existing customers have commented that the patient’s photo helps them to personalize their approach and make patients feel safer and more comfortable. 
  • The RightPatient patient identification solution uses photo biometrics to identify patients, a non-contact, hygienic form of biometrics that supports hospital infection control policies. Considering the increased attention on managing infection control in healthcare by keeping hands clean, we understood that patient ID innovation meant offering a solution to providers where a patient does not have to make physical contact with a biometric hardware device to avoid the spread of germs and illness.

We continue to innovate and evolve parallel to the rising challenges of establishing accurate patient ID in healthcare. For us, understanding the true meaning of patient ID innovation means designing and building a solution that not only address today’s obstacles and complexities, but has the flexibility to adapt to the challenges of tomorrow.

For a free, no obligation demo of the RightPatient patient identification solution, please contact us.

using patient photos to increase patient safety in healthcareMichael 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.

 

 

 

using biometrics for patient identification to increase patient safety

Patient Identification Deployment Video: Community Medical Centers

using biometrics for patient identification to increase patient safety

Community Medical Centers implemented RightPatient using photo biometrics for patient identification to increase patient safety. (Photo courtesy of Community Medical Centers).

There are myriad reasons why a healthcare organization seeks to implement a biometric patient identification solution. It could be to prevent duplicate medical records. Or, perhaps to increase revenue cycle management efficiency and returns. Maybe it’s in an effort to better protect patient medical identities. Whatever the reason, there is one recurring theme that is a constant in all biometric patient ID deployments – increasing patient safety.

A desire to improve patient safety by ensuring accurate patient identification was an important underlying goal for Community Medical Centers (CMC) when they made the decision to invest in RightPatient. Staff at CMC knew that RightPatient was an important part of their overall strategy to prevent medical record mix-ups and protect patients from error.

The staff at CMC assembled a video overview of their RightPatient deployment providing insight into the enrollment process and factors that led to their implementation decision:

 

As explained in the video, RightPatient is an image-based patient identification solution – a non-invasive, hygienic (non-contact), and easy-to-use technology that instantly links a patient’s photo to their unique medical record. In the case of CMC and many other RightPatient customers, the software becomes a seamless module of the Epic EHR workflows through a low-level integration.

Backed by 15 years of experience in biometric technology, RightPatient remains the industry’s most versatile and scalable biometric patient safety system, leveraging a powerful cloud-based intelligence engine to recognize patients by simply capturing their photo.

Our thanks to the staff at CMC for creating this patient identification deployment overview video!

If you want more information or would like to see a demo of RightPatient, please contact us.