chart corrections impact healthcare data integrity

How RightPatient Prevents Chart Corrections in Epic and Other EHRs

I’ve visited enough of our customers to know that hospital emergency rooms and free-standing EDs can sometimes be chaotic environments. Unlike most outpatient registration areas, patients who arrive to the ED do not have scheduled appointments and often go through a triage process with a nurse where they are “arrived” within the electronic health record (EHR) system. This is essentially a quick registration that begins the documentation of a patient’s visit information on his/her medical record. Unfortunately, this process often results in what are known as chart corrections.

As one might imagine, a clinician’s primary focus is on the health and safety of the patient. Nurses that triage patients are trying to enter patients into the EHR system so they can receive the appropriate care as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, data entry errors during this process are commonplace. For example, EHR system users may create a “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” medical record if they cannot properly identify the patient. Or, users may mistakenly select the wrong record because it shares a similar name with the patient in need of care.

When EHR users select the wrong patient medical record, all subsequent information pertaining to that visit is entered into that record (sometimes referred to as a medical record “overlay”). This is a data integrity failure and results in data entry errors that need to be resolved with a chart correction. So, a chart correction in the Epic EHR or other EHR systems is the process of fixing a “wrong chart entry” or overlay record that was caused by a patient identification error.

Wrong patient, wrong record data integrity failures within the EHR system can have disastrous consequences. At best, the healthcare provider must spend internal Health Information Management (HIM) resources to perform chart corrections and resolve medical record overlays, costing $60-$100 per hour for an average of 200 hours per overlay record. At worst, wrong patient errors can affect clinical decision making, patient safety, quality of care, and patient lives. This is why organizations like AHIMA have strongly advocated safeguards that healthcare providers can use to prevent medical record mix-ups, improve data integrity, and reduce the risk of adverse events.

RightPatient is the ideal safeguard to prevent wrong patient medical record errors and chart corrections within Epic and other EHR systems. The AI platform uses cognitive vision to instantly recognize patients when their photo is captured and automatically retrieve the correct medical record. This becomes a seamless module within EHR system workflows so there is no disruption to users.

Customers like University Health Care System in Augusta, GA are effectively using RightPatient to reduce chart corrections in Epic. In fact, UH saw a 30% reduction in Epic chart corrections within months after implementing RightPatient. 

Healthcare providers using RightPatient to capture patient photos significantly reduce their risk of data integrity failures. This enhances patient safety and health outcomes while reducing costs – important goals in the age of population health and value-based care.

Value-Based Care: A Patient-Centered Approach Requires Knowing Your Patient

Value-Based Care: A Patient-Centered Approach Requires Knowing Your Patient

Aspirin, penicillin, monoclonal antibodies, interventional cardiology, and genome editing have undoubtedly revolutionized medicine. However, while all of these have been breakthroughs in the field of medicine, not much has changed in the way that doctors do their jobs. Patients visit their doctors, the doctors diagnose, they recommend tests, they prescribe drugs, and they are compensated according to the volume of work done or the number of procedures performed.

If medicine is to progress in the 21st century, things have to change at every level, including the way that doctors work and receive compensation, the way they identify the right patient, and the way that patients are treated.

The long-awaited system that is going to change the way doctors work and are compensated will soon become a reality. This new system is called value-based care.

Value-based care is about compensating doctors according to outcomes. This encourages more personal attention to patients and transitions the healthcare system from cure-based to preventive medicine. It is a system in which doctors receive a higher level of compensation for either better outcomes from procedures or enabling patients to avoid health-related problems altogether.

There are several benefits of a healthcare system where the right patient gets the right kind of care.

Value-based care can save patients a lot of money. Putting aside the historical projections of healthcare inflation, the U.S. is also facing major epidemics of chronic, non-communicative diseases like diabetes, high-blood pressure, and cancer. It is no secret that many of these ailments are preventable with timely intervention and/or the correct behavior. Value-based care creates an environment where doctors can help patients to avoid these diseases by intervening at the right time. A doctor would identify the right patient to design a prevention plan before a disease can manifest where things become more complicated and expensive.

Once the right patient, a patient with a high risk of developing a chronic illness, has been identified, the doctor would be encouraged to spend more time with her, teaching her to take better care of herself so that complications can be avoided. There would be a reward system for identifying the right patient and taking timely preventative measures. It would also result in higher patient satisfaction.

A value-based care system would also lower drug costs. Historically, manufacturers decide the price of their medications without taking into consideration the value that a particular drug has in terms of its effectiveness and overall patient wellbeing. A value-based system would also encourage the development of personalized medicine where treatment plans and even pharmaceuticals can be tailored to specific patient needs.

The backbone of the value-based care system would be patient identification and data mining. Many are already demonstrating why medicine should incorporate more data-based modeling to augment physician decision-making.  Data mining helps doctors and the healthcare industry as a whole to better understand the outcomes of various therapeutic approaches. Ultimately, it can help to create the right kind of individualized solution for the right patient.

Unfortunately, realizing optimal results from data mining and value-based care has its challenges, especially as healthcare organizations start mining data that has been accumulated over long periods of time. On average, at least 8% of hospital patient records consist of duplicate data. Thus, an intelligent way to sort out these duplications and identify the right patient is desperately needed.

It is stated that value-based care is about the right patient getting the “right care, in the right place and at the right time.” Instead, the maxim should be, “RightPatient® enables the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

RightPatient® guarantees that a patient medical record is never mixed up with another record and the hospital ecosystem will always recognize the patient with the help of cognitive vision. Mistakes from common patient names, fraud, human error and other issues are always prevented.

As we all know, chains are only as strong as their weakest link. In many hospitals or medical institutions, there is an urgent need to strengthen this weakest link throughout the entire system – overcoming the errors of false identity and data duplication with RightPatient. Only then can the benefits of value-based care and data mining be fully realized.

How Big is the Patient Mix-up Problem in the U.S.?

How Big is the Patient Mix-up Problem in the U.S.?

Hollywood has created several films featuring a person that was wrongly informed about cancer or another fatal disease with the patient being told that they only have a few months/days left to live. Upon hearing this news, the patient goes on a spending spree and adventure only to discover in the end that things have been mixed up. This might make for a great movie but in the real world, if such a patient mix-up happens, the outcomes may be far worse. 

But just how frequently does this medical record mix-up problem happen in real life?

It seems that the problem of so-called mistaken patient identity is big enough to cause serious problems – something that is very evident from the article published in the Boston Globe, reporting 14 cases of mistaken identity

Reports indicate that medical errors due to patient mix-ups are a recurrent problem. Consequently, a wrong person may be operated on, the wrong leg may be amputated, the wrong organ may be removed, etc. In fact, CNN reported that in 6.5 years, in Colorado alone, more than 25 cases of surgery on the wrong patient have been reported, apart from more than 100 instances of the wrong body parts being operated on.

It would be challenging to estimate the true total number of patient mix-ups simply because the vast majority of them go unreported until something untoward happens. Even in cases where complications do occur, most medical organizations would not be eager to publicize them. 

Today, it is widely accepted that medical errors are the third largest killer in the U.S.; that is, far more people die of medical errors compared to diseases like pneumonia or emphysema. It is now estimated that more than 700 patients are dying each day due to medical mistakes in U.S. hospitals. This figure clearly indicates that medical errors often occur even though a fraction of them will have fatal outcomes. It also tells us that cases of patient mix-ups may be shockingly high and indeed underreported.

Though several thousand cases of mistaken patient identity have been recorded, it remains the most misunderstood health risk, something that hospitals barely report, and an outcome that patients do not expect to happen.

The U.S. healthcare system is extremely complex, making it challenging for a single solution to resolve this issue. There have been lots of efforts to implement a unique identity number for each patient (a national identifier) but political roadblocks have proven difficult to navigate. The chances are bleak that any such national system would be created, as patients remain profoundly worried about the privacy of their data.

At present, perhaps the best option is that each hospital finds its own way to solve this problem by developing some internal system to make sure that patient mix-ups don’t happen. Or, a better idea is to leave this task to the professional organizations that specialize in the business of improving patient identification. The RightPatient® Smart App is a perfect example of an innovative solution that is powered by deep learning and artificial intelligence to turn any device like a tablet or smartphone into a powerful tool to completely eliminate the problem of mistaken patient identity.

Technological solutions are often meant to augment human efforts, not to replace them. Here are some of the ways to avoid patient mix-ups:

  • Always confirm two unique patient identifiers within the EHR (Electronic Health Record), like patient name and identity number.  Though this is a standard practice, many mistakes still occur due to similar first or last names. Thus, an app like RightPatient can help to eliminate the chances of such an error.
  • Two identifications should be used for all critical processes.
  • There must be a system to alert staff if two patients have a similar first or last name.
  • Avoid placing patients with similar names in the same room.

Although patient misidentification and medical record mix-ups continue to plague the U.S. healthcare system, there is hope to address this serious issue with solutions like RightPatient. Now, we just need healthcare providers to make this a priority and take action. 

How Opioid Abuse Exposes Hospitals

How Opioid Abuse Exposes Hospitals

Whenever I’m talking to a healthcare provider about RightPatient, the topic of “frequent flyers” inevitably arises. For those who might not be aware, frequent fliers are patients that use different aliases to obtain healthcare services. It’s estimated that between 2-10% of patients arriving at the emergency department (ED) provide some kind of false or misleading information about themselves. Typically, these patients are lying about their identity to obtain prescription medications, and most of these are for opioids.

Since these patients lie about their identity or demographic information, hospitals often end up writing off a considerable amount of money for their services – up to $3 million annually on average. Aside from these financial losses, frequent fliers also pose other risks to providers that are associated with patient safety and quality of care. Why? Because they also frequently lie about prescription drug use or addiction.

What’s worse is that this behavior is not limited to frequent fliers. Any patient can lie about their addiction. Many of these patients lie about their addiction to opioids, specifically. As we all know by now, the U.S. has a serious problem with opioid addiction, a crisis that killed over 33,000 Americans last year. This crisis has no rules or boundaries, and does not seem to select for a particular demographic. Anyone is susceptible to getting hooked on opioids because they are so addictive.

The opioid epidemic has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the health of the patient; however, in the ED, this is the primary concern of a clinical team. Considering the circumstances, this question seems relevant – “how can healthcare providers ensure high quality of care when patients lie about their identity and/or drug use?”

RightPatient can play an important role in helping to answer this question. Our AI platform can accurately recognize the patient and offer key clinical insights by detecting patterns in the patient’s appearance over time. Clinicians won’t need to rely on the words lies coming out of a patient’s mouth, patients with no ID, or expensive tests. RightPatient automatically knows who the patient is and whether or not they are at risk of opioid abuse.

ED nurses who suspect a patient of abusing opioids will typically search the patient’s belongings to make sure they aren’t prescribed something that could cause an adverse event or even kill them. Unfortunately, the human eye, clinical intuition, and patient reliability have many shortcomings. Luckily, RightPatient can augment clinical diagnostics with cognitive vision to help fight the opioid epidemic and save a lot of lives and money in the process.

Data Personalization in Healthcare

Data Personalization in Healthcare

Personalization in healthcare – everyone talks about personalized medicine, how about data personalization?

One size does not fit all. Thus, medicine is seeing a shift from a standard model of care to a personalized model of care. The emergence of cloud computing, wearables, machine learning, and continuous progress in data management has made the delivery of personalized medicine more possible. Personalized data along with predictive analytics would change the way medicine is practiced today. It has the power to create a proactive health system that can help to address diseases at their earliest phase. Personalized data will help to craft medical solutions “especially for you,” rather than a single solution for all. It would also help consultants to free up time so that they can concentrate on developing a lasting and trusting relationship with patients.

When the human genome was first decoded, there was tremendous excitement about the ability to predict diseases and provide personal health solutions; however, soon it became evident that our overall health cannot be determined by analyzing small snippets of our DNA, as valuable as they might be for understanding specific risks. Medical or health-related decisions cannot be made in the absence of better personal data or a more holistic understanding of the person being treated.

With the help of personalized data, it would be possible to shift from the so-called model based on diagnosis and treatment to one of early disease detection and even a predictive model of medicine, along with personalized solutions.

Traditional medicine has depended not only on the phenotype and genotype data but other variables as well – a personal relationship with the patient, understanding patient lifestyle issues, surroundings, life events, social and family conditions, and much more. Data personalization can help to bring back that edge to automated systems through the customization of data. Data personalization is about delivering the right information about the patient, to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, in the right way. More than ever before, this is now conceivable due to better availability of personal data, personal devices, services, and applications.

Data personalization would make it possible to create a reasoning engine that has the ability to predict and make recommendations by using personal data of the patient provided by various resources.

Data personalization can take personal medicine many steps forward by adding the human touch and predictive analytics.

Perhaps in making medicine personal and predictive, personal information is what seems to be missing. If included in the algorithm, it would surely make predictive analytics more accurate and dependable. Personalized data would help to serve patients in the best possible way by shifting focus from merely disease determination to prevention, timely intervention, and better treatment.

Data personalization should not be taken as something new in medicine; in fact, it is a more natural way of providing health services, and closer to the traditional practice of medicine as it is about integrating the psychological, behavioral, and other measures that have become possible due to improvements in technology.

Combining the human biology with existing knowledge of epidemiology and clinical medicine would result in more personalized care. It is more like giving a human touch to the technology – something that has been a characteristic of traditional medicine, supporting the notion that doctors know their patients far better when a closer relationship is established. Thus, personalized data can augment that missing human factor in modern practice.

As more electronic personal data becomes accessible, systems become more intelligent. Having better learning capabilities and better availability of personalized data would revolutionalize the way we provide healthcare.

 

RightPatient for patient ID to reduce duplicate medical records

Photo Biometrics Patient Identification Testimonial – University Health Care System

RightPatient-for-patient-identification-to-reduce-duplicate-medical-records

The University Health Care System implemented RightPatient to help protect patient safety and reduce duplicate medical records.

We always relish an opportunity to visit hospitals and healthcare organizations who have made the smart choice to adopt photo biometrics for patient identification. Who better to share their story about events and conditions that lead to their decision to invest in RightPatient® Cloud?

We had an opportunity to sit down with George Ann Phillips, Administrative Director, Revenue Cycle at University Health Care in Augusta, GA to ask her why the hospital decided to invest in photo biometrics to increase patient safety, reduce chart corrections, duplicate medical records, improve revenue cycle collections, and humanize health IT by linking the patient’s photo to their electronic health record (EHR). Prior to implementing RightPatient®, University’s situation was not much different than many other healthcare organizations – a desire to prevent duplicate medical records, improve patient safety, streamline registration, and improve the patient experience.

After carefully evaluating RightPatient® against other biometric modalities, University decided that photo biometrics was a smarter investment and would help them to achieve their aforementioned goals. University staff liked the fact that by capturing the patient’s photo and storing it in the RightPatient® Cloud, they suddenly had the means to identify patients at any point along the care continuum – before portal login, during telemedicine sessions, and prior to administering medication or providing any clinical service. Clinicians immediately offered positive feedback to George Ann saying that having the patient’s photo linked to their medical record was an outstanding way to personalize their approach and gave them additional piece of mind to avoid any medical errors.

George Ann also pointed out that she was much more comfortable implementing photo biometrics because it supported hospital infection control policies and did not require the patient to touch any device to avoid the risk of contracting an illness or spreading germs. RightPatient® is the only biometric patient ID solution that is contactless and the only solution that truly has the ability to identify a patient no matter where they are along the care continuum. No other biometric identification solution can claim this.

University’s return on investment (ROI) has been strong since adopting RightPatient®:

  • 20% reduction in chart corrections
  • 99% patient acceptance (54,000+ patients enrolled so far)
  • Rapid deployment expansion to physician offices
  • Positive feedback from C-suite
  • Clinicians love seeing the patient’s photo
  • Streamlined patient registration
  • Improved patient experience

Take a moment to watch the short video here:

Thank you to George Ann Phillips and Beverly Bell from University for their assistance to make this video. Please share it with a friend or colleague!

home healthcare is beneficial for patients

Why Is Home Healthcare Better Than Nursing Homes?

Why Is Home Healthcare Better Than Nursing Homes?

There are many reasons to choose CDPAP over a traditional homecare program. (Photo courtesy of freedomcareny.com)

The following guest post on home healthcare was submitted by Jack Vincent.

As we get older, it can be very hard for us to take care of our home and ourselves with great results. In fact, our bodies just can’t handle the pressure of managing a home, which is why it can be a magnificent idea to ask for help. Usually, there are 2 options in this regard. You either have the option to enter a nursing home, or you can get home health care.

But is home health care better than a nursing home? Yes, because not only does the patient get to stay in his home, but he can also receive dedicated supervision. Plus, many other extraordinary benefits can be accessed this way as well.

1. The patient gets to stay at home

As we mentioned above, being able to stay at home is imperative for any person that needs dedicated home care. Usually, it can be very stressful to accommodate in a nursing home, whereas home healthcare is a lot easier to handle. Basically, any older person can handle the idea that someone else takes care of their needs within their home. Opting for a nursing home is just too much in many situations. That’s why a lot of older people that need dedicated care prefer home healthcare instead of nursing homes.

2. More affordable

The reality is that many nursing homes tend to be very expensive. Home healthcare is cheaper than that, which in the end does tend to bring in front quite a lot of interesting benefits! What you will like in this case is that you get to spend less without having to worry about any potentially significant expenses. That does pay off a lot if you want to spend less but still get the very best treatment for your senior.

3. Postpones or even prevents institutional living

Aside from being something new, institutional living is not for all seniors. Yes, plenty of them just can’t accommodate to the nursing home life. They want to stay alone or with someone at home, which is why home health care is the right option for them. The value is indeed there, all you have to do is to follow the desires of your senior and focus on his needs to get the best results.

4. It promotes healing

The home healthcare services are designed to help a senior heal and stay healthy. Not only are they focused on well being, but they also bring in support and the satisfaction that you are not alone. It certainly pays off a lot, which is what you want to have in the end.

5. It reduces re-hospitalizations

Why is that? Because home health care makes the most of one great resource, which is the friendly environment. A senior is going to feel better and recover a lot faster in a friendly location such as his/her home. It certainly shines, and in the end, this will work to your advantage. It does tend to pay off a lot especially if you require professional and fast home care.

6. It protects personal freedom

When a senior goes to dedicated institutions such as nursing home for the day to day care, they do have to remove some of their day to day freedom. It may not sound like much at first, but this does come with multiple benefits in the end. Having your sense of freedom and getting a say in everything that pertains to your life is something that every senior wants to have, that’s for sure.

7. Easier for the family

Aside from being perfect for the senior, home healthcare is fantastic for the family as well. It just makes things simpler, since the family and friends can visit a senior without a problem while he lives within his/her home. Things do get a lot more complicated when a senior goes to nursing homes, because that’s where you have to deal with visiting hours and other similar stuff. Yes, nursing homes can provide good care, but the family will have to be in the second place, and that may not be that good in the end.

8. It provides a safe place to deal with any health problems

In case a senior has health problems, the last thing he/she wants is to spread the disease. Thanks to home healthcare, a senior can contain any infections and health issues within their home. Other people will not be affected, and he/she can still receive the proper benefits and care without that much of a hassle. That’s what makes things worth it in this situation and the value is indeed there for sure.

9. Improved bladder control and bathing

It can be hard for a senior to deal with bladder and bathing issues within a nursing home. The home healthcare services are designed to bring in front a very rewarding and unique experience, which in the end works to his/her advantage. After all, nothing is more important than having someone that will handle these problems and which will provide personalized care at all times. It certainly pays off, and it brings in front a rather distinct and unique value.

10. Immediate access to medical care

Once you opt for home healthcare, a senior will be able to reach some very good results, and in the end, the overall value will be second to none. Not only will this provide a very rewarding value, but the experience will be worth it at all times. It certainly shows that the quality and value are there, you just have to access them!

As you can see, there are many reasons why home health care is better than nursing homes. If you want to receive the ultimate value for your family or if you are a senior that requires extensive care, home health care is certainly the way to go. It does pay off a lot, and you do receive the quality and value that you may need. Don’t hesitate and check it out; you will not regret it!

Author bio: Jack Vincent is a writer, blogger, and loves teaching and educating others. When he’s not substitute teaching at his local elementary school, he spends most of his free time helping his mother who is dealing with dementia.

patient safety in healthcare

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017 – We Are All Patients

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017 – We Are All Patients

What can patients and doctors do together to ensure better patient safety in healthcare? (Photo courtesy of pixabay)

The following post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Emma Turner.

Everyone is a patient. Whether it’s a simple cold or a complicated surgical procedure, sooner or later, we all need a doctor – and Patient Safety Awareness Week is a time to reflect on how healthcare organizations and patients can work together to keep everybody safe, healthy and happy.

The week marks the culmination of the United in Patient Safety campaign, and this year, will take place from 12 to 18 March.

We put a lot of faith in our doctors – and in theory, medical professionals take a great deal of pride in ensuring you receive the highest quality of care. But no matter how knowledgeable or skilful your doctor may be, accidents happen.

Here’s the reality: hospitals are places of trauma, where sick and seriously injured people look for help. This means that doctors are often overrun with a variety of crises, and feel compelled to work long hours seeing many different patients, often long into the night.

These working conditions would make anyone crabby – but they can make doctors exhausted, and prone to making serious errors under pressure. And those mistakes can put your health, safety and even your life at risk.

How Many Fatal Medical Mistakes Occur Every Year?

New research shows medical errors are a major problem. A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that as many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States alone are due to some form of medical error. The study’s authors believe that medical error should now be regarded as the third leading cause of death in the country – and that many of these fatal mishaps are preventable.

In fact, the researchers caution against blaming so-called “bad” doctors, and point instead to an array of systemic failures that could lead to mistakes being made. These oversights include poor coordination of care between doctors and facilities, fragmented insurance networks, absent safety protocols, and avoidable variations in physician practice patterns.

Good News! Our Hospitals Are Becoming Safer

Efforts to avoid these mistakes from happening are working. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently concluded that the number of illnesses or injuries that occur in hospital, or hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), has been steadily declining since 2010.

The agency estimates that between 2010 and 2014, hospitals were able to reduce HACs by 17 percent, a sure sign that local and national efforts to improve patient safety are paying off. A total of 2.1 million fewer HACs were experienced by patients in those four years, which is good news for anyone who finds that they need to be admitted to hospital, as it represents an overall increase in safety – and comes at a time when hospitals all over the country have ramped up their attempts to reduce adverse events.

Clearly, hospitals are embracing their duties of safety and care – and it’s not just your health that stands to benefit. By paying attention to the negative impact of unnecessary errors, the nation’s hospitals managed to save as much as $19.85 billion in costs between 2010 and 2014. Those savings are crucial, as they enable healthcare practitioners to offer their patients an ever-improving standard of care.

What Can Doctors Do About the Safety Standard in Hospital?

The resident experts in each hospital are responsible for improving conditions – and a new poll shows that more and more of those specialists are making progress. In the AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, 76 percent of respondents graded their work area or unit as either very good or excellent – while less than half of them reported at least one safety-related incident in their facility in the past 12 months.

While each medical error is as unique as the patient being treated, there are patterns and trends that present themselves over time. Some common causes of serious medical errors include poor planning, doctor fatigue, and failure in communication among healthcare staff, prescription of incorrect medication or dosage, and pharmacist error.

Some steps doctors and other healthcare workers can take to prevent mistakes are:

1. Plan meticulously before each and every surgical procedure or outpatient treatment;
2. Get enough rest and adhere to federal guidelines regulating doctors’ working hours;
3. Ensure open lines of communication between staff members and specialists, and from one stage of treatment to the next;
4. Look out for medication interaction issues due to previous prescriptions; and
5. Print each prescription notice neatly and clearly, and make sure the patient understands how, and how regularly, to administer their medication.

What Can You Do to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Medical Error?

Hospitals are unique places, where traumatized patients seek help from frazzled or fatigued doctors. While strict safety standards are designed to prevent serious accidents, the combination of high stakes and human nature is bound to lead to mistakes every so often.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to ensure those errors don’t leave you more ill than when you walked in, or worse.

The first and most important step to take in avoiding a serious or even fatal medical mistake is to look past the white coat. Doctors are people too – they face challenging working conditions and a range of other strains and stressors, and despite their years of training and insights into mysterious illnesses, they are capable of making mistakes.

Here’s how to check in on your doctor’s diagnosis, and guarantee that you are receiving proper care:

1. Research as much as you can about your condition and the required treatment plan;
2. Study your doctor for signs of fatigue, and report them to management if you feel they are too tired or overworked to examine your case properly;
3. Make sure you know each individual in your healthcare team by name, including not just your primary care physician but nurses, surgeons and specialists, and ask questions to check that they are communicating openly with each other;
4. Be honest with your doctors about your full medical history, and tell them about any other medications you might have been prescribed by another doctor; and
5. Double-check your pharmacist’s instructions and make sure you understand how and when to take your medication.

improving patient safety in healthcare saves lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Emma Turner is a blogger writing for http://nursingschoolsnearme.com, a website helping students and established nursing professionals in a range of topics.

 

 

using healthcare analytics to make smarter decisions

Healthcare Analytics: Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

Healthcare Analytics: Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

The collection and interpretation of healthcare analytics is fundamentally changing modern healthcare delivery. (Photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

The following guest post on healthcare analytics was submitted by Yeshwanth HV. 

As healthcare enters the digital age, the practice of medicine will change for the better. It will move away from the clasp of largely reactive decision-making, which was inaccurate and expensive to say the least, and into the realm of evidence-based medicine; thereby becoming more proactive, connected and personalized. In simple words this means that the days of long trips to hospitals that culminated into a series of referrals followed by questions and answer sessions, and tests that were repeated over and over again will be a thing of the past. Patients will start receiving treatments and be prescribed medications that are customized as per their unique needs. With comprehensive medical information about the patient along with a repository of knowledge base that includes every aspect of treating patients with similar medical conditions, care teams will be able to devise accurate healthcare plans that can mitigate any harm to life or safety of patients.

If you think that this form of care is too “futuristic” and can only exist in animations shows such as ‘The Jetsons,’ let me get you acquainted with the reality. The truth is this form of care is already happening and will eventually be integrated into every routine healthcare protocol.

The ‘magic’ that made this possible

Yes, hospitals and other healthcare practices have scrutinized operational and financial data since ages, but the magic started happening when they started to track and analyze healthcare data. When healthcare related data is gleaned from a variety of sources – starting from EHRs and disease registries to direct patient surveys and even digital health devices used by individuals – providers can obtain a well-rounded view, which enables them to analyze every patient, understand their needs and proactively reach out to provide personalized care. When diligently used, the intelligence gained from analytics can move beyond improving healthcare outcomes and give a new lease of life to a hospital’s bottom line.

Factors driving this move towards analytics

The first reason is the cost. It is no secret that ‘reactive’ healthcare is a lot heavier on the pocket when compared to ‘proactive or preventive’ healthcare, which is essentially conceived with an objective to keep individuals out of costly healthcare settings such as emergency rooms.
The other crucial factor that is encouraging this trend is the shift from fee-for-service model to accountable, value-based care models that essentially link quality of care and reimbursement. For healthcare providers, this move means that their survival depends upon the usage of analytics to streamline financial and operational performance of the organization.

How does it work?

Not long ago, providing evidence-based treatment meant that hospitals had to follow a series of well-tested care protocols. However, with greater access to healthcare data and advancements in analytics, we have entered a new era of evidence driven care. By accumulating and analyzing data from diverse feeds over an extended period of time, care providers can understand the exact reasons for bad outcomes and therefore realign their strategies to provide most effective care to individual patients as well as to a particular section of patient populations.

Healthcare providers can also leverage analytics to recognize patterns in a population’s health and precisely estimate individual risk scores. Based on these scores, they can priorities the work of individual healthcare team, allowing them focus more time on the most vulnerable individual.
What’s more healthcare analytics, whether based on risk assessment, EMRs or claims data, can categories patients prior to service and tackle a potential concerns before they pose any real threat to the patients. It can also quantify everything – from emergency room visits, treatment outcomes and readmissions to wait times and utilization of expensive services – and offers a level of transparency that is good for both healthcare outcomes and for business. For instance it can help providers to set up internal benchmarks to gauge quality and cost performance, and provide a detailed understanding of how well they stack up against their counterparts. It also can help hospitals to swiftly make crucial decisions pertaining to reducing costs, optimizing resources, improving care quality and enhancing their competitive positions.

The benefits of healthcare analytics on the patient side are also equally compelling. By arming patients with timely and relevant information, and enabling them to have an extensive understanding, healthcare analytics has opened up a new era of customized healthcare.

Conclusion: Changes are coming; be ready to embrace it

In developed nations the usage of healthcare analytics is growing at a rapid pace. As a result of this, very soon the roles of patients, physicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations will see some drastic changes in the coming years as mentioned below-

• Patients will become better informed and assume more responsibility for their own care

• Physicians will assume more of a consultant role than a decision maker and will advise, warn and help individual patients. They will start witnessing more success as care becomes more accurate and proactive. And they will have more time to interact with patients and build long lasting relationships

• Hospitals will start witnessing fewer unnecessary hospitalizations, resulting in revenue losses initially. However, overtime, admissions will become more meaningful, the market will adjust, and accomplishment will rise

All in all, changes are coming. Be proactive and ready to embrace the new world order that will take healthcare to the next level.

Author Bio:

Yeshwanth HV is a healthcare writer employed by MedBillingExperts, a leading provider of healthcare business process outsourcing services such as medical billing, medical coding, medical records indexing and healthcare analytics services to medical practitioners and healthcare organizations worldwide. Dedicated towards the healthcare industry, he has authored several blogs and articles that have received rave reviews in the industry. Prior to MedBillingExperts, Yeshwanth worked with CIO Review and has authored several bylined pieces for the quarterly editions of the magazine.

patient engagement in healthcare

5 Ways Technology Is Improving Doctor Patient Collaboration

5 Ways Technology Is Improving Doctor Patient Collaboration

Is technology in healthcare playing an important role to improve patient engagement? Photo courtesy pf pixabay)

The following post on improving patient engagement in healthcare was submitted by Audrey Thorne.

Innovative technologies and groundbreaking discoveries have changed the face of the healthcare industry. Due to them, ailments that were previously life threatening are now easily cured, surgical procedures have become less invasive and self-help devices have given birth to an empowered and more health conscious society.

Moreover, in addition to enhancing the quality of patient-care, these technological advancements have also revolutionized physician-patient relationship – making it much more collaborative in nature.

Nowadays, we see doctors being able to keep a constant eye on their patients via tracking devices, patients being able to connect instantly to their physicians via video calling apps and both equally partaking in the healthcare process.

This serves to not only expand the reach of healthcare services but also makes patient-care much more pertinent and personalized. The tremendous utility of such technologies can be gauged from the fact that 52% of healthcare service providers utilize at least 3 connected health technologies to maintain contact with their patients. Here we take a look into how technology is improving doctor patient collaboration:

1. Engaging patients in the healthcare process:

The government is struggling to make optimum use of a limited amount of resources in order to provide healthcare services to a growing population. This disproportionate ratio of medical service providers to patients causes patients to endure long waiting times in healthcare settings and also inhibits physicians from spending sufficient time with patients to provide in depth consultation and monitoring.

Even in the coming decade, the Association of American Medical Colleges has projected a shortfall of physicians ranging from 61,700 to 94,700 causing healthcare providers to search for innovative ways to increase the reach as well as the scope of healthcare services.

It is due to these escalated efforts that we now have a number of devices and applications that facilitate round the clock correspondence between doctors and patients and also enable patients to become actively involved in the healthcare process.

These technologies include informative sources that give patients a greater understanding of the intricacies of their condition and possible courses of treatment and allow them to decide on a care plan in collaboration with their physician.

This in turn increases their ownership of their care plan as well as their determination to see it through.

Moreover, we also now have an array of reliable self assessment tools such as Brain Test to help detect the presence of ailments, in this case cognitive disorders, that not only serve to satisfy patient curiosity but also encourage them to seek timely medical assistance.

In addition to these, self-help apps like Fitbit allow patients to constantly monitor and improve their health. This is crucial since healthcare by nature is a two-way process where it is absolutely essential for both parties to play their part for a treatment to be effective.

Therefore, these technologies, albeit simple, have proven to be game-changers as they have allowed patients to play their part in ensuring their health and well-being.

2. Personalized services:

A decade ago, hospitals used to run on paper-based records with the staff having to go through stacks of files in order to learn about a patient’s medical history. Likewise, patients had to personally maintain their medical records and repeat their history to every doctor that they visited.

Both these factors caused healthcare services to be disease-specific whereby physicians would attempt to diagnose an ailment based on the information available and recommend treatments to resolve the underlying issue.

However, technology has shifted healthcare from being disease-specific to individual-specific as physicians are now able to use electronic medical records to provide tailored treatments to patients.

This has catapulted the quality of medi-care by allowing accurate diagnosis and treatment and has also deepened the relationship between doctors and patients. Doctors are now able to remain in touch with their patients throughout and even after the course of the treatment via online forums and applications such as Epocrates that facilitate doctor-patient dialogue.

Moreover, such apps also provide doctors with a more intricate understanding of patient condition and enhance the confidence that patients have in their healthcare provider.

They also help patients feel much more secure as they know that their physician is only a few clicks away. In addition to this, these technologies enable physicians to provide ongoing support to patients who are adjusting to new medications or have been requested to make significant lifestyle changes as part of their treatment.

3. Reduced waiting times:

People often delayed or avoided seeking medical consultation in the past because they were unable to take time out for a lengthy trip to the hospital.

However, this hesitation to endure a tedious hospital visit had serious long-term repercussions as it allowed ailments to worsen and increased the risk of hospital admissions. Thankfully, we now have bountiful apps that allow patients to gain instantaneous consultation from physicians via video calls.

Moreover, these apps have also improved correspondence between doctors and patients when it comes to arranging appointments. Patients can now receive timely reminders about upcoming appointments from their healthcare provider which consequently leads to fewer patient no-shows.

4. Improved marketing:

Hospitals use marketing channels such as emails, social media, instant messaging, etc to apprise patients about new cures and treatments in an attempt to increase the quality of patient-care and increase public awareness.

Previously, they had to send out mass emails and messages which at times would be thought of as irrelevant and spam by patients. This correspondence, however, has improved drastically over the past few years, as hospitals are now able to send out communications to specific patients with specific needs.

5. Focus on prevention rather than cure:

With social media platforms, blogs and websites, physicians are able to disseminate a huge amount of information about disease prevention and cure and are able to respond to general queries by patients.

This ready availability of information and informal access to medical consultation has shifted the focus of patients from curing ailments to avoiding them in the first place.

By doing so, doctors are not only able to help save countless lives but are also able to relieve burden off of healthcare providers who strive to provide services to an ever increasing base of clients.

Technology has revolutionized doctor-patient dynamics, however, when we look at the rampant pace of technological developments it is safe to assume that this relationship will continue to evolve drastically in the years to come.

5 Ways Technology Is Improving Doctor Patient CollaborationAudrey Throne is a mother and a professional blogger by choice. She has completed her masters in English literature from university of Birmingham. As a blogger she wrote quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management. Currently, she is associated with heartfeltadopt Team.

Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.