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Patient Identification Errors

Prevent Patient Record Mix-Ups Before It’s Too Late

 

It’s no secret that patient identification is a challenge, but unfortunately, a frightening number of “wrong patient, right procedure” mix-ups still occur every day in hospitals and health systems around the country.

For example, an article published on bostonglobe.com highlighted a case at UMass Memorial Medical Center where a patient was mistakenly diagnosed with cancer and underwent unneeded medical procedures before hospital staff discovered a mix-up with the patient’s CT scan results. And, according to the article, this is far from an isolated case of mistaken patient identity at this hospital.

The good news is that there are tools that can help hospitals and health systems prevent such dangerous mistakes.

The RightPatient® Cloud, for example, is designed to prevent mix-ups and cases of mistaken identity by streamlining patient identification procedures and reducing the risk of human error—all while dramatically increasing the chances that that the right patient receives the right treatment from the right providers.

Most hospitals and health systems rely solely on patient identification procedures that require healthcare staff to use two pieces of patient information, such as full name and date of birth, to match patients to their medical records.

However, in today’s bustling healthcare atmosphere, it can be easy for healthcare staff to forget to perform proper patient identification procedures. And, many patients do not speak English, are unconscious or have similar names and birth dates, all of which increase the risk of medical mix-ups.

Healthcare regulators and public health officials are increasingly sending the message to hospitals and health systems that the time to make changes to patient identification procedures is now—before a potentially disastrous mistake occurs. 

By implementing the RightPatient system, hospitals can eliminate patient identification guesswork for healthcare staff. That’s because the RightPatient system captures a photo of each patient upon admission to the hospital.

After the patient is enrolled in the system, the patient’s medical record is locked and can only be opened using the patient’s unique biometric identifiers. The system can be installed on any smartphone or tablet, making it portable enough to meet the unique needs of staff and patients.

Although hospitals are spending millions of dollars on electronic health record systems, population health software and other advanced equipment to protect patients and streamline operations, most of these systems overlook a fundamental aspect of patient safety: Ensuring that healthcare staff are accessing the right records and providing the right care to the right patient.

Prevent Patient Record Mix-Ups Before It's Too Late

  • The bottom line is that healthcare consumers go to hospitals to get well and hard-working doctors and nurses do everything in their power to make that happen. When patients are not identified correctly, bad things happen.
  • The sad fact is that one simple medical record mix-up resulting from a patient mismatch is all that it takes to throw a patient and their family into distress, negate the hard work and dedication of the doctors and nurses who are trying to help, and damage the reputation of the hospital where the incident occurred.

With RightPatient, all that is required to eliminate these risks is a simple snap of a camera when a patient walks into the hospital. That doesn’t sound like too much to ask, does it?

how to increase patient safety in healthcare

The Last 10 Years: How Technology Has Increased Patient Safety

how to increase patient safety in healthcare

Advances in health IT have increased patient safety in healthcare.

The following guest post on how health IT technology has increased patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Hannah Whittenly.

With healthcare demand growing in an aging population, medicine has become a competitive field. It’s increasingly difficult for administrators and staff to manage facilities and costs while still maintaining quality and safety in patient care. Thankfully, new technologies over the past decade are helping to keep patients protected. Here are just a few of them:

Image Archives
Picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) are cross-platform, online repositories for medical imaging records like x-rays and MRIs. PACS enables file sharing so that medical consultants and specialists from anywhere in the world can review diagnostic imaging in moments. Even within the same facility, all physicians and nurses are looking at one common, complete set of medical images.

Patients can accumulate quite a lot of these images over a lifetime of medical care. New PACS systems can automatically archive older images that are no longer relevant and organize new ones. Shared, updated information leads to faster diagnoses and more effective treatments.

Bar Codes and RFID

Bar codes and RFID chips are a way to instantly provide information. While they’ve been around for a while, mobile apps and better optical and radio frequency scanners are making them incredibly convenient. Bar codes or chips can be affixed to equipment, bottles of medication, patient beds, entry and exit points, and even patient and employee badges.
Strategically placed scanners can record and track movements so that nothing is misplaced and workflows can be analyzed for better efficiency. Monitoring also helps to provide better physical security for staff and patients. In emergencies, wandering patients or needed staff members or equipment can be almost instantly located.

Health Information Technology

Modern HIT systems are becoming praised as the solution to streamlining hospital practices. Efficient digital record keeping and reporting is helping to eliminate medical errors that were once a source of concern for patients, administrators, and insurers. Mistakes sometimes led to a patient being forced to undergo needless surgeries or treatment, or given the wrong medication.
Unique patient IDs associated with electronic records have helped to overcome this problem. Sinus and allergy tests and treatments, like those that Premier Surgical Associates does, improve the quality of life for patients of all ages, and now become permanent records for future reference. Every detail in any treatment is electronically documented to keep records updated and provide opportunities for analysis and improvement.

Biometric Patient Identifiers

There are a few areas of the human body that are unique to individuals: fingerprints and iris patterns for example. Because those areas are completely unique, they can actually be used to identify a person. This is important in the case of death, hospital emergencies, and in the case of a missing person situation. Although technology has been being used to track fingerprints for a while now, iris cameras are becoming more available and are being used as biometric patient identifiers.

Due to the fact that such devices require that a patient willingly interacts with the technology, acceptance is a key part of any biometric patient identification deployment. It is critical that healthcare organizations that deploy biometrics for patient identification offer a clear and transparent explanation to patients that the technology is in place to protect their identities and help prevent medical errors.

Though technology continues to evolve, once proven and put in place it provides advantages and consistent results. Today’s medical technology is developing into a reliable system for improving care and patient safety.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

use photo biometrics to identify patients and prevent medical errors

Are Children Eligible to Enroll in Biometric Patient ID Solutions?

protect a child's medical identity with biometric patient ID

A patient access representative takes a photo of a child using an iris recognition camera to protect her medical identity.

The rapid spread of using biometric patient ID solutions has helped to increase safety, reduce duplicate medical records, eliminate healthcare fraud, and strengthen patient data integrity. As most healthcare providers who implement biometrics for patient ID quickly realize – patient participation is the most important factor to ensure deployment success and realize the strongest return on investment.

Traditionally, we see the use of biometrics as a strong security solution to protect our own medical identities, but what about children? Are they eligible to enroll in a biometric patient ID platform and realize the same protection as adults? The short answer is: It depends on the biometric patient identification solution that you select.

Often overlooked as a key demographic that is just as susceptible to the perils of medical identity theft and inaccurate identification, protecting a child’s medical identity is just as, if not more important than protecting our own identities. On a recent podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, I asked Eva how important it is to protect a child’s medical identity and what is the earliest age that a child can have their medical identity stolen? Here is what she said:

“Protecting a child’s medical identity is definitely a growing concern in healthcare. And, it isn’t only protecting their medical identity but their identity as a whole. People generally do not believe that (medical ID theft) is a crime that affects children, but I can tell you that we (Identity Theft Resource Center) handle and re mediate cases of child ID theft on a daily basis. It’s really about ensuring that a child’s personal information doesn’t make it into the hands of a thief. The crux of the problem with child medical ID theft is the time of discovery…the most common ways that people find out they are victims of ID theft is because they are trying to accomplish something and they hit a barrier.

If you think about it, children just don’t engage with the outside world the same way adults do – they aren’t out applying for credit, trying to get a driver’s license (before the age of 16) and go through background checks. All of these external things that pop up and make us take notice of our identities, they just don’t happen with children, so that’s where it becomes a parent’s responsibility. For parents, it’s all about taking as many proactive steps as you can. Some states allow you to freeze your child’s credit, and you can certainly always request your child’s medical records to go through them and ensure their accuracy. As a parent, you need to read the Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) after your child has a pediatric visit.”

I then asked Eva what the earliest age is that a child can have their medical identity stolen. She offered this response:

“I hate to say this because it almost sounds like fear mongering but it’s absolutely true – it can actually be before the child is born. If a criminal just decides to make up a social security number that hasn’t been issued yet and starts to use it, it doesn’t necessarily make it back to the social security administration office so your child is born, you go to get a social security number issued to them and you receive it but a criminal has already been using it – so child ID theft can actually happen before they are born.”

Clearly, there is a sense of urgency to ensure a child’s medical identity is protected from the moment they are born! The problem that some healthcare providers face who have implemented certain biometric hardware modalities for patient ID is that not all are eligible for children to enroll. Instead, some biometric patient ID solution providers recommend that a child not enroll until they reach a certain age, or until certain physiological attributes are mature enough to be recognized by a hardware device. This essentially excludes children from leveraging the identity protection and security advantages of using biometric patient ID for identification at the age where they may perhaps be most vulnerable to having their identities stolen. 

The key for any healthcare provider seeking to implement biometrics for patient ID is to deploy a solution that has the ability to capture a child’s unique biometric profile at the youngest age possible and then use that as their identity credential for the rest of their lives without the inconvenience of re-enrolling as a child matures or the security risks of not being eligible to enroll at all.

Protecting a child’s medical identity is among the many reasons that we recommend the use of photo biometrics for patient identification in healthcare. Children as young as 10 months old can enroll and since the iris is a human physiological attribute that forms at 10 months of age and remains static throughout our lifetimes, it represents a viable and stable credential for accurate identification. 

As more healthcare organizations around the world evaluate the use of biometrics for patient identification, it is critical that all possible patient options and scenarios are addressed to maximize return on investment and ensure that any patient, no matter how young or old, can take advantage of the benefits to protect their medical identities. 

For a full version of our podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, click here.

patient ID in healthcare podcast

IntrepidNow Healthcare Podcast Highlights Patient Identification in Healthcare

patient identification in healthcare podcast

Joe Lavelle from IntrepidNow Healthcare interviewed RightPatient® President Michael Trader to discuss the current state of patient identification in healthcare. (photo courtesy of Joe Lavelle and IntrepidNow Healthcare)

Our thanks to Joe Lavelle and his staff for inviting our President Michael Trader to the IntrepidNow podcast to discuss patient identification in healthcare. Joe invited Michael to not only talk about the current state of patient ID in healthcare and some of the problems that misidentification of patients creates, he also provided the opportunity for Michael to discuss the RightPatient® biometric patient identification platform and what distinct advantages it provides compared to other solutions on the market.

Listen in to Joe’s podcast and learn:

  • The impact of biometric patient ID solutions to eliminate duplicate medical records/overlays and sustain patient data integrity
  • How modern patient identification solutions help prevent medical identity theft and fraud at the point of service
  • How the digitization of healthcare now makes accurate patient identification essential at every touchpoint along the care continuum 
  • The rising importance and ubiquity of photos for accurate patient ID in healthcare
  • The biometric patient identification solution competitive landscape
  • Updates on The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) national patient ID challenge
  • Looking ahead to what’s next for RightPatient® in 2016

Listen to the entire interview here:

Thanks again to Joe Lavelle from IntrepidNow for inviting us to be a guest on his podcast! For a complete list of all RightPatient® healthcare biometrics podcasts, please visit our podcast landing page.

patient identification in healthcare

Patient Identification in Healthcare: The Year in Review

patient identification in healthcare

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

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

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

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

#1 – CHIME flexes its clout. Big time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 – Biometric patient identification deployments continue to rise

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

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

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

RightPatient seamlessly integrates with Epic EHR for accurate patient identification

Why Epic EHR Seamless Integration is Important

RightPatient seamlessly integrates with Epic EHR for accurate patient identification

RightPatient® seamlessly integrates into the Epic EHR system to maximize operational efficiency.

The EHR Battle Heats Up

When the HITECH Act was signed into law in 2009 creating financial incentives to promote and adopt health information technology, few people outside of the healthcare industry could probably grasp the importance and impact this law would have on vendors offering electronic health record (EHR) systems.  Back then, we as patients were excited at the prospect that healthcare was finally stepping out of the middle ages and into the modern era of record keeping, our minds popping with optimism about how dumping paper for electronics was going to revolutionize medicine and open new doors to improve both individual and population health. We never would or could have imagined the intense complexities of implementing these EHR systems and the heated rivalries they would create that seem to stifle progress and impede value. Akin perhaps to kids playing in a sandbox, the rivalries and intense competition between these vendors is increasing.

Over 85% of hospitals across the country have adopted some form of EHR to qualify for Meaningful Use however, many have switched EHR vendors citing insurmountable functionality difficulties, poor usability and design, and a lack of adequate training and support as some of the main reasons to make a change.

What we as healthcare consumers have learned throughout the EHR journey is that some EHR systems are skilled at handling certain functions, while others are not. Some EHR platforms support interoperability more than others. Certain EHR providers are well known for their outstanding support capabilities and some can be difficult to work with.

EHRs are not a single flavor, they all come with their strengths and weaknesses and each has developed their own “personality.”     

Our EHR Barometer

One important characteristic is the ability for our biometric patient identification solution to seamlessly integrate with an EHR so that it becomes a consistent and uninterrupted part of staff workflow. Our biometric patient ID platform seamlessly integrates with Epic’s EHR system to help ensure an efficient and accurate authentication process without having to toggle to a separate application that can cause workflow interruptions and lost productivity. Seamless integration of the RightPatient® biometric patient identification solution with the EPIC EHR system also helps save precious time during patient registration to improve the patient experience. 

In addition, the ability to capture a patient’s photograph during registration and then display that photo alongside the patient’s Epic EHR adds value to the identification process by providing fast two-factor authentication without having to leave the Epic platform. Patient registration staff and clinicians along the care continuum are immediately greeted with the patient’s photo once their Epic EHR is accessed for fast, accurate identification to prevent unnecessary medical errors.

The ability to seamlessly interface with Epic’s EHR platform is a distinct advantage for establishing accurate patient identification anywhere along the care continuum. By utilizing various biometric credentials, RightPatient® is built to offer accurate and secure patient identification no matter where an Epic patient attempts to access protected health information (PHI) or medical services, even in virtual environments. This is a key factor to ensure patients are safe, their PHI is safeguarded, and healthcare facilities are administering care or releasing information to the correct individual. 

Conclusion

RightPatient® has the unique ability to seamlessly interface with the Epic EHR system and provide staff the ability to perform accurate patient identification at any point along the care continuum without ever leaving the platform. Key to ensuring smooth and efficient workflow and to maximize operational efficiency, seamless integration of a biometric patient identification solution with Epic’s EHR system should be an important factor if you are considering an investment.

 

biometrics for patient identification should be a priority project

Biometric Patient Identification Implementation Should Be Higher On The Priority List

biometric patient identification should be a priority project

Are healthcare organizations evaluating the proper criteria to prioritize enterprise IT Projects? (Photo courtesy of pixabay: http://bit.ly/2ihfSvh)

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

As someone with a long track record of implementing enterprise IT solutions in healthcare, I frequently observe hospitals “shuffling the project deck” as they compare and contrast the merits and return on investment (ROI) of each initiative in order to determine which makes the most sense to allocate budget dollars. Does politics at times play a part in the decision of which technology projects eventually get approved? Yes, at times. Are there often misinterpretations of the value that an enterprise IT project can offer in both the short and long term? Absolutely. Do hospitals often place a high priority on implementing projects that in reality, should be pushed further down the list in lieu of the value that another project brings to the table? Definitely.

Case in point: the implementation of biometrics for patient identification in healthcare. Although I am obviously biased towards this technology since I work for a company that has helped many hospitals throughout the world see the benefits of using it to increase patient safety, prevent duplicates and overlays, and protect patients from medical identity theft and fraud, it doesn’t alter the facts about how implementing biometrics before making a commitment to other competing enterprise software projects is something more healthcare organizations should consider. Why? Let’s look at some specific examples of alternate enterprise project implementations that would actually benefit and see performance improvements if a biometric patient identification project deployment took preference:

1. EHR Projects – Although the implementation or “switch” to another EHR vendor is perhaps one of the most complicated, time consuming, and resource-intensive enterprise software projects a healthcare organization will ever undertake, the implementation of a biometric patient identification system prior to embarking on an EHR project is a smart idea. Why?

Our experience has shown that there is always an uptick in duplicate medical records when you are initially implementing or switching to a new EHR system, primarily because staff are adjusting to new workflows and are less likely to catch duplicates the first few months. Since duplicate medical records present a direct threat to patient safety and a serious treatment error risk to healthcare organizations, their prevention should be priority #1 for any modern EHR system. 

I am not necessarily advocating the push for budget dollar allocation to biometric patient identification over an EHR project, however implementing a biometric patient identification solution before an EHR Go Live will make it more successful by immediately eliminating the possibility of creating duplicate medical records and overlays and prevent staff from making registration and patient identification mistakes while learning the new system.

2. Duplicate Medical Record “Clean-Up” –  Often times, I run across hospitals that may be evaluating the implementation of a “duplicate medical record clean-up” project prior to deploying biometrcis for patient identification. Without discounting the importance of purging duplicate medical records from any EHR database, the argument for why hospitals should consider the use of biometrics for patient identification is clear — healthcare organizations will successfully perform a “de-duplication” cleanup but continue creating duplicates until they implement stronger patient ID technology and will most likely have to do another cleanup down the road. 

Keep in mind that it only takes one – ONE – mistreatment at the hands of incorrect, missing, or incomplete medical data due to duplicates or overlays to result in harm, or possibly even death of a patient. Ask yourself, are you willing to assume the risk of medical errors to patients and the repercussions (which often can include hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in legal fees and compensation) of these errors for the short term gain of a “clean” master patient index (MPI)? Chances are, you aren’t willing to take that risk which leads to a stronger argument to implement biometrics for patient ID prior to launching a duplicate medical record clean-up initiative.

3. Big Data and Analytics – These are project priorities that perhaps perplex me the most, especially in the context of establishing higher data integrity when preparing to join a health information exchange (HIE), or as part of a merger that joins separate Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs).  If a healthcare organization is seeking to allocate budget dollars to initiatives that advance data integrity, that’s good news. No one will argue that the healthcare industry simply has to better understand and find wisdom in the terabytes of data their systems possess to help advance the “triple aim” and deliver higher quality care, especially as more disparate networks are attempting to share data . However, the problem is that allocating budget dollars to these deployments is the quintessential “cart before the horse” mentality.

Instead of placing more emphasis on cleaning existing “dirty” data, healthcare organizations are rushing to the HIE table for fear of losing a seat or appearing indifferent to their patients and the industry wide push on sharing and making health data more accessible. What good is joining a HIE (or merging IDN’s) in the absence of technology that ensures that not only is the data you share clean and all medical data is properly attributed to the correct patient, but also guarantees that the data will STAY clean to give you the confidence that clinicians truly have a complete picture of a patient’s health and medical history when administering care. 

I’m reminded of a story that is a perfect illustration of why implementing biometrics for patient ID should take precedence over many other health IT projects, especially those that address data quality.

Years ago I worked for a local YMCA that had a leaky roof over the gymnasium. Each time it would rain heavily, staff would be scrambling to place buckets around the gym floor that would strategically catch the water leaking from the roof. The leaks would cause event and class cancellations, disrupt workout schedules, and generally leave paying members feeling a bit frustrated. YMCA management then made a decision to replace the aging, wooden gym floor with a new model that was built with a soft rubber substance – a radical new technology that was supposed lower the impact and strain of running on a hardwood surface. They then spent tens of thousands of dollars replacing the floor, and as you may have guessed, the next time a powerful storm came through, it leaked water all over the new gym floor. The irony in this situation of course is that management should have allocated the funding to fix the roof before they had the new floor installed.

As we continue to help the healthcare industry understand the advantages of implementing biometrics for patient identification, we understand that many healthcare organizations are not flush with cash to haphazardly allocate to any enterprise project that comes down the road. There are many mission critical projects that simply take precedence in the broader scope of improving the quality of care. Shouldn’t the deployment of biometrics for patient identification be one of them?

Brad Marshall works for RightPatient - the industry's best biometric patient identification solution.

Brad 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.

 

accurate biometric patient identification helps improve patient data integrity.

Uniting Accurate Patient Identification with Secure Single Sign-On (SSO) to Improve Data Integrity in Healthcare

accurate biometric patient identification helps improve patient data integrity.

Today we announced a new strategic alliance with Healthcast, Inc. to bring biometric patient ID and single sign-on (SSO) technology to healthcare.

One of the biggest obstacles facing the healthcare industry is ensuring high levels of patient data integrity. As computerization of health information continues and the scope of health information organizational exchange expands into health information exchanges (HIEs), and integrated delivery networks (IDNs), maintaining the integrity and completeness of health data is paramount yet much more complicated and challenging. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recently stated that:

“The overarching goal of HIEs is to allow authorized users to quickly and accurately exchange health information to enhance patient safety and improve efficiency. Achieving this goal is dependent on the ability to link (match) multiple, disparate records relating to a single individual.” (Insuring Data Integrity in Health Data Exchange, AHIMA Resources, 2012)

Achieving high levels of patient data integrity in healthcare is largely contingent upon establishing accurate patient identification — a complex process due to the absence of any standardized patient identification credentials and a lack of consistency on how patient identification information is collected. Implementing a secure patient identification system should be the precursor to any patient data integrity improvement strategy, one that has the ubiquity for use at ANY patient touchpoint (e.g. portals, mHealth, and kiosks) and has the power to prevent duplicate medical records and fraud which can quickly poison an electronic health record database and create a host of “dirty data.”

Coupled with the importance of deploying a modern patient identification system is the urgency to establish stricter single sign-on (SSO) security protocols for access to personal health information (PHI) from clinicians or any staff authorized to view this data. Healthcare data breaches continue to pose a tremendous strain on the industry, recently highlighted in The Ponemon Institute’s 2015 2nd Annual Data Breach forecast which states:

Healthcare organizations face the challenge of securing a significant amount of sensitive information stored on their network, which combined with the value of a medical identity string makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals.” (2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, The Ponemon Institute, 2015)

A logical first step for any healthcare provider is to implement stronger SSO technology to simplify and secure access to PHI that helps deter fraud, prevent duplicate medical records, and increase operational efficiencies.

In an effort to help introduce and increase adoption of arguably the two most important components that will improve patient data integrity for any healthcare organization, today we announced a new strategic alliance with Healthcast — joining forces to offer our best-of-breed biometric patient identification solution with their #1 ranked single sign-on solution (KLAS, 2014) to increase patient safety and secure access to patient data.

Read more about the news here

CIO of hospital provides testimonial of using iris biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Biometric Patient Identification CIO Testimonial Video

CIO of hospital provides testimonial of using iris biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Learn more about how our RightPatient biometric patient identification solution can help your healthcare organization through this firsthand testimonial from a hospital CIO.

Like many who attended the 2015 HIMSS trade show in Chicago, we were excited (and a bit overwhelmed) at the amount of health IT knowledge and information swirling around the exhibit halls and aisle/booth conversations between attendees and vendors. One theme that we were excited to see is the continued surge of implementing biometrics for patient identification by many healthcare organizations that understand it’s value to help:

1. eliminate duplicate medical records
2. prevent healthcare fraud and medical identity theft at the point of service
3. Increase patient safety

Ever since the use of biometrics for patient identification arrived on the scene just a few short years ago, many hospitals are now reaping the dividends of this technology to achieve the aforementioned benefits and helping to add revenue back to the bottom line by cutting back on fraud and eliminating medical errors resulting from patient misidentification. The future of implementing biometrics for patient identification is bright, and increasing it’s luminosity as more hospitals and healthcare organizations learn about how the technology works to improve patient data integrity

We took a moment to sit down with the Healthcare Data Management team in their booth on the HIMSS trade show floor to participate in a video interview about our RightPatient® healthcare biometrics patient identification solution to help explain it’s advantages and unique qualities plus provide a firsthand testimonial from a hospital CIO who has implemented our platform using iris recognition. 

 

 

The interview includes firsthand testimonial from Lee Powe at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin, NC about how he originally deployed palm vein biometrics for patient ID, but quickly switched to the RightPatient solution using iris biometrics once he saw the advantages plus what results Hugh Chatham has realized since first deploying the technology including: reductions in duplicate medical records, elimination of Medicaid fraud, and a high level of patient acceptance.

Michael Trader from RightPatient is then interviewed to describe the iris biometric patient identification platform, what makes it unique, and why healthcare providers should consider implementation.

Thanks to the staff at Health Data Management for the opportunity to discuss what makes our biometric patient identification solution unique, and allow us to feature Lee’s testimonial on why he values the technology to help increase patient safety and reduce healthcare fraud at Hugh Chatham.

 

misunderstading biometric patient identification tchnology can be dangerous

Post Show Thoughts on Biometric Patient Identification from the 41st Annual NAHAM Conference

misunderstading biometric patient identification tchnology can be dangerous

Misunderstandings of biometric patient identification technologies was a recurring theme we observed at the 41st Annual NAHAM trade show.

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

Last week we wrapped up participation in the 41st Annual National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) trade show in Indianapolis, IN. We were happy to be represented as a healthcare biometric patient identificaiton and data integrity vendor, demonstrating the strength and ubiquity of our solution and offering demos of iris recognition as a smart modality to consider for patient ID in a healthcare environment.

Through our conversations with NAHAM trade show attendees, we learned a lot about their perceptions of biometric patient identification and helped to clear up common misunderstandings of how the technology works to keep patients safe, eliminate duplicate medical records, and prevent healthcare fraud and medical identity theft at the point of service. Common misunderstandings, their clarifications, and key takeaways included:

  • Misunderstanding  – All biometric patient identificaiton technologies have the ability to prevent duplicate medical records, eliminate fraud and ID theft in real time, and improve medical data record integrity.
    Clarification  – The ONLY way to prevent duplicate medical records and improve patient data integrity with biometrics is to implement a system that, during patient enrollment, compares a captured template against ALL stored templates in the biometric database. This is known as a “one-to-many” (1:N) comparison. It’s also the only way to ensure high levels of data integrity across the HIE or IDN.  
    Takeaway – Understanding the differences in biometric matching is vital if you expect the system to prevent duplicate medical records and improve medical record data integrity. If you are relying on biometric patient ID technology that segments the EHR database (i.e. – entering a date of birth) prior to performing a search, this is not a true way to prevent duplicates, fraud, or medical ID theft.
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  • Misunderstanding – Biometric hardware devices that require patient contact are acceptable in a healthcare environment.
    Clarification – Biometric hardware modalities that require physical contact by a patient do not support hospital infection control policies and open the door to spreading germs and illness. Plus, patients are less likely to enroll in a biometric patient identification system that requires physical contact (e.g. – palm vein and fingerprint) over modalities that do not require any contact (e.g. – iris recognition).
    Takeaway – Patient acceptance and subsequent enrollment in a biometric patient identificaiton initiative is critical to the success of the deployment. Patients are less likely to enroll in a biometric patient ID system when it requires physical contact with a hardware device.
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  • Misunderstanding – Experience in the biometrics industry doesn’t matter in the context of deploying a patient identification system within a healthcare environment.
    Clarification – The success of any biometric identification management deployment is largely dependent on a solution provider’s experience deploying biometrics in a variety of physical and geographical environments to draw from that wisdom and customize the solution to fit the unique needs of any end user. Chances are, healthcare facilities would rather work with a vendor that has a long track record of deploying biometric identification management projects around the world in a host of environments with varying conditions and has the ability to discern implementing the most effective and sustainable hardware and software solutions that will maximize return on investment (ROI).
    Takeaway – When performing due diligence on biometric patient identification vendors, don’t discount experience as a key factor in your decision to invest. Vendors that have a long history of experience in deploying biometric technology in a variety of industries and offer cloud applications, system integration, high-performance computing, human factor engineering, and machine learning helps to ensure that you will always be provided with innovative, scalable, practical solutions that are the best possible fit for your needs.
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  • Misunderstanding – Biometric patient identifcation technologies only apply to patients who have physical identifcation credentials.
    Clarification – We heard quite a few attendees comment that due to limitations in their existing biometric patient identification solutions, they only enroll patients who can physically present official identification documentation leaving all other problem areas unaddressed (e.g. – patients without identification, “frequent flyers,” drug seekers, etc.). The truth is that a core value of an effective biometric patient identification solutions is it’s ability to enroll ALL patients, regardless of the conditions that exist to truly capitalize on the purpose of implementing the system – to protect patient safety and eliminate duplicates, fraud, and ID theft. 
    Takeaway – Biometric patient identification vendors who offer the ability to reliably verify a patient’s claimed identity prior to his/her initial biometric enrollment add more value by ensuring that a patient can verify their claimed identity which produces cleaner data.
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As a biometric patient identification solution provider who spends a lot of time at healthcare trade shows listening to feedback from healthcare professionals on their perception and understanding of this technology, we hear quite a few misunderstandings about how it actually works and a solution’s capabilities to accomplish the stated objective of increasing patient safety, eliminating duplicate medical records, and preventing fraud and medical ID theft. As a biometric technology vendor with over a decade of experience implementing solutions in a variety of verticals and environments around the world, we understand the criteria that leads to a successful deployment. Please visit our “Resources” Web site page to learn more about biometric patient identification and dispel some of the common misunderstandings that exist.

What was your biggest takeaway from the 41st Annual NAHAM conference?

P.S. – Congratulations to Anne Marie Mariani, Corporate Director of Patient Access at St. Luke’s Hospital and Healthcare for winning the $100 Amazongift certificate we raffled off at our booth!

bradBrad 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. 

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