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review of biometric patient identification educational session at 2016 HIMSS conference

Takeaways on Biometric Patient ID from HIMSS 2016 Conference

review of biometric patient identification educational session at 2016 HIMSS conference

Several educational sessions at the 2016 HIMSS conference were dedicated to patient ID in healthcare.

Like most who attended last week’s annual HIMSS conference in Las Vegas, I was a bit overwhelmed at the amount of information, activities, and traffic swirling around the Exhibit Halls and lecture rooms. It’s difficult to not get swallowed up among 40,000+ attendees and even more hard to block out the flashing lights and unbelievably cool technology on display in order to focus on what matters most, but I had a set agenda to follow and stuck to my plan. This was the third HIMSS conference I have attended and I continue to be amazed at the outstanding job that HIMSS staff does to pull off this event each year, which only seems to keep growing in size, scope, and complexity. Hat tip to HIMSS staff who work tirelessly on making this event successful!

Buried among the central themes of advancing interoperability, cybersecurity, population health, consumer and patient engagement, and connected health, there were a handful of educational sessions dedicated to patient identification in healthcare including a presentation by Dr. Raymond Aller, a Clinical Professor at the University of California entitled: “Patient Identification: Biometric or Botched?”

This was the only educational session at the conference that I could see which was 100% dedicated to the use of biometrics for patient ID in healthcare and it was well attended – I counted approximately 75 people who showed up for the session. 

Dr. Aller presented what I felt was a fair, unbiased analysis of the patient identification landscape in healthcare and a thorough analysis (including strengths, weaknesses, and deployment examples) of biometric patient identification modalities available to hospitals and health organizations. Here is a brief overview of Dr. Aller’s central themes, and what he presented:

  1.  Text based patient identification is simply no longer an efficient or safe way to ID patients: Dr. Aller began his presentation by listing the consequences of failing to properly identify a patient including the patient safety, legal, and liability issues and public relations nightmare misidentification can create. He then demonstrated the drawbacks and limitations of text based patient ID calling it “obsolete” and pointing out that in 2016, hospitals and healthcare organizations can no longer afford the risks associated with this form of identification. He even went so far as to question the viability of continuing to use a master patient index (MPI) as a patient data repository, calling it a “dangerous” and “obsolete” concept.
  2. Healthcare fraud and medical identity theft: Dr. Aller then explained the potentially catastrophic consequences of healthcare fraud, medical identity theft, and duplicate medical records from misidentifying a patient and the additional problems and risks that data merges pose stressing that too often, hospitals spend hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars a year cleaning data and merging records without ever having the foresight to implement technology that will sustain patient data integrity in the future. Bottom line? Relying on names and dates of birth (“what you know”) and ID cards (“what you have’) to identify patients is simply no longer safe or sufficient. The patient identification industry is evolving to identify patients by “who they are.”
  3.  Biometric patient identification technology overview: The last third of Dr. Aller’s presentation centered on an overview of biometric patient identification technologies available including a detailed description of fingerprint, palm vein, and iris recognition (also referred to as “photo biometrics”). Although Dr. Aller left out some key points about these biometric patient identification modality options (for example, he did not mention the back end biometric matching technology behind each of these modalities and why this is important to understand), his review was fair and provided a relatively unbiased look at the strengths and limitations of using biometrics for patient identification. One interesting point that Dr. Aller made was the fact that in a clinical setting, the use of fingerprint and palm vein biometrics for patient identification creates questions about hygiene and supporting hospital infection control policies because a patient must physcially touch a device for identification – an attribute that is not a factor with iris recognition since it is contactless to the patient. 
  4. Conclusion: Dr. Aller concluded his presentation by further extolling on the strengths of biometrics for patient identification but cautioned the audience that biometrics are by no means a panacea due to select psychological, sociological, and physiological limitations. However, Dr. Aller did point out that his research indicated that when presented with the option of using biometrics to protect their medical identities and keep them safe throughout the care continuum, over 99% of patients opt-in to using the technology.
  5. Question and Answer session: Selected attendees asked some very interesting questions during the Q&A session including one woman from a neonatal hospital who lamented that it is very difficult to identify newborns with biometrics since neither palm vein or fingerprint biometrics can be used on children (photo biometrics can be used on any child 10 months or older). Another person asked what biometric technology could be used to verify patient identities over the phone when they call in requesting access to protected health information (PHI).

Several other educational sessions during HIMSS were centered on patient identification in healthcare with several common themes emerging:

  1. The healthcare industry is slowly shifting from credential based to identity centric patient ID.
  2. A central reason that more hospitals aren’t researching how to more effectively identify patients are competing priorities. Healthcare simply has to drop the “wait and see” attitude to more effective patient identification. 
  3. 198,000 deaths annually can be contributed to patient misidentification.
  4. Patient misidentification resulted in $77 billion Medicare and Medicaid fraud and improper payments.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d venture to say that patient identification will continue to be a hot-button topic in healthcare during 2016 and beyond, largely because so many other elements of care along the continuum are contingent upon it and so many back-end processes and functions (e.g. – revenue cycle management) depend on getting it right. 

What lessons did you take away from any of the HIMSS 2016 educational sessions dedicated to patient ID in healthcare?

free webinar on achieving accurate patient identification in healthcare

Free Webinar: The State of Patient Identification in Healthcare

free webinar on achieving accurate patient identification in healthcare

The increased complexities of achieving accurate patient identification in healthcare raise questions about the most suitable strategies to implement. Join us on September the 10th from 1 – 2pm EDT for a free webinar on patient identification in healthcare.

Accurate patient identification and data matching in healthcare to ensure patient safety along the care continuum is a complex challenge for most healthcare organizations. Common names, lack of proper ID, identity swapping, and the explosion of new patient touchpoints (mHealth apps, patient portals for example) to access personal health information (PHI) has created problems for organizations that still rely on antiquated methods of identifying patients and places them at a high risk of committing medical errors that could jeopardize patient safety.  

Achieving accurate patient identification in healthcare is a key strategic goal of healthcare organizations across the industry as they continue to explore new technologies that have the ability to meet modern demands of the new digital health paradigm in the wake of the shift to a patient-centered wellness approach and a push to better understand the individual patient. Unified views of patient data across any care setting is a growing necessity despite the variability in data capture methods, systems, and a lack of patient identification industry standards.

In the absence of a unified view of patient data, healthcare organizations will continue to make medical errors with incomplete or inaccurate information. Access to accurate, complete PHI is one of, if not the most vital component to deliver quality, cost-effective care and the only way to accomplish this is to establish accurate patient ID at the point of registration/access so the patient’s entire medical history supports immediate care or a wellness event. Complete and accurate medical histories must be linked to any point along the care continuum to truly achieve patient-centered care.

Join us on September the 10th for a free webinar on the state of patient identification in healthcare and a comprehensive overview of strategies and technologies healthcare organizations can use  to improve and sustain accurate patient ID. Plus, we will address the growing use of biometrics for patient ID, explain how it’s being used, and what return on investment (ROI) hospitals have realized since implementing it at their facilities. 

Topics covered during the free one-hour webinar include:

• The current state of patient identification in healthcare
• Patient identification challenges
• Using biometrics for patient ID across the care continuum

Join us on September the 10th from 1pm – 2pm EDT as we explore the topic of patient identification in healthcare and offer an overview of how biometrics is a viable solution to increase patient ID accuracy and patient safety along the care continuum.

Tell a friend or colleague! This is your chance to learn from experts in patient identification, ask questions, and engage in the discussion. Have a question you would like to ask during the webinar? Please visit the webinar landing page to sign up and leave your question or write it in the comments below.

Looking forward to seeing you on September the 10th!

 

biometrics for patient identification increases patient safety

Lessons Learned at this Year’s HFMA ANI Conference

biometrics for patient identification increases patient safety

Although the use of biometrics for patient ID is not a new concept, many are still unaware of its benefits.

The following post on patient identification in healthcare was submitted by Jeremy Floyd, Healthcare Director at RightPatient®

We were excited at the chance to again participate in the Healthcare Financial Management (HFMA) trade show held this week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Attendance was brisk, the exhibit hall was packed with vendors displaying the latest technological health IT solutions, and attendees were excited to learn and explore for new opportunities to improve revenue cycle management, coding, and business analytics. As is the case with all conferences and trade shows the RightPatient staff attends each year, we approached the event as a means to learn more about the unique needs of hospital CFO’s, revenue cycle managers, and all those who have a hand in healthcare finance, plus have a chance to demonstrate our own products and services as part of a concerted strategy to improve patient identification in healthcare and to address all of the ancillary conditions that lack of an accurate patient ID strategy can bring to the industry. Here is a recap of what we learned:

1. Despite the fact that using biometrics for patient identification is not a new concept, many still do not know or understand it’s benefits: Perhaps the biggest surprise for us at this year’s HFMA ANI annual conference was the number of CFOs and Revenue Cycle Managers that we spoke with who are still unclear or unaware of the benefits that using biometrics for patient identification can offer healthcare organizations. We talked extensively on this blog about how biometric patient identification positively impacts healthcare information management,  how and why patient identification technology should prevent medical identity theft at the point of enrollment, the ability of iris biometrics to identify unconscious patients and how important accurate patient identification is along the care continuum

The benefits of deploying biometrics for patient identification resonate well beyond patient safety, and include a direct impact on revenue cycles and billing. Many of our existing customers have already seen a direct correlation between accurate patient identification and the revenue cycle, demonstrated in their ability to more accurately bill for services rendered, and offer a concrete audit trail of services provided in cases of dispute.

2. Many still feel that patients will not accept or participate in a biometric identification initiative: As we recently outlined in a blog post, our field research indicates that over 99% of patients accept the use of iris biometrics for identification and willingly enroll in the RightPatient system after they understand what it is being used for, how it protects their safety and privacy, and the protection if offers against medical identity theft and healthcare fraud. Patients do understand the use of biometrics for identification, contrary to popular belief that the technology will be only tepidly accepted.

3. Experience matters: Several people we spoke with at this year’s HFMA ANI show indicated their unwillingness to adopt biometrics for patient identification from a vendor with a short track record, an absence of real world experience in biometric technology, and a customer base that doesn’t include large hospital networks with complicated infrastructures and a wide network. Fortunately, RightPatient has this experience and a deep customer base of both large and small healthcare networks, a platform that already has pre-built versions compatible with all the major EHR providers (Epic, McKesson, CPSI, Meditech, and Cerner®). Plus we offer additional benefits to our biometric patient identification solution such as:

  • A HIPAA compliant SaaS cloud service designed to create a single, ubiquitous, federated patient identity
  • A seamless interface with IBM’s Initiate® platform to assign a unique, single patient identity profile across an Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) kept authentic through our biometric matching system
  • The ability to secure remote personal health information (PHI) data access to safeguard patient privacy and help prevent data breaches that can lead to fraud and medical ID theft
  • A portable, ergonomic mobile biometric patient identification device to provide convenience and portability when identifying patients bedside, in home health, or in special cases within the emergency department.

We had a very positive experience at this year’s HFMA ANI conference and would like to thank the HFMA staff and all attendees we met for helping us to continue our mission of bringing biometrics for patient identification to more healthcare organizations throughout the world!

 

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

more hospitals are using biometrics for patient identification in healthcare to increase patient safety

New Podcast Released on the use of Biometrics for Patient ID in Healthcare

more hospitals are using biometrics for patient ID in healthcare to increase patient safety

Listen in to this podcast from SecureID News on the rise of biometrics for patient identification in healthcare.

Thank you to our friends at Avisian publishing for allowing us the opportunity to appear as a guest on their latest SecureID News, “Regarding ID” podcast on the increasing use of biometrics for patient ID in healthcare. Listen in to this podcast where SecureID News’ Gina Jordan interviews both Michael Trader, President of M2SYS Technology, and Melaine Wilson, VP of Revenue Cycle Management at Novant Health to discuss:

  • What is RightPatient®?
  • Why patients are overwhelmingly being acceptive of using biometrics to protect their medical identity and ensure they receive accurate medical care
  • How RightPatient® protects patient privacy
  • Where is biometrics for patient identification being used across the care continuum?
  • How is Novant Health using RightPatient® at their hospitals?
  • What Novant Health patients are saying about using iris biometrics for identification
  • Why RightPatient® was built to seamlessly interface with ANY EHR provider software
  • How easy it is to scale up the RightPatient® system 
  • How RightPatient® is used for accurate patient identification across an EMPI
  • How RightPatient® supports: patient safety, quality outcomes, and hospital infection control

This podcast serves as an excellent resource for education on how the RightPatient® biometric patient ID system works, why hospitals are adopting the technology, what patients think about it, and it’s application to authenticate a patient at each and every touchpoint along the care continuum.

Thank you to Gina and the entire SecureID News team for the opportunity to appear on the podcast and discuss the rising use of biometrics for patient ID in healthcare!