Posts

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?

4-Ways-Medical-Personnel-Can-Implement-Policy-into-Patient-Safety-Protocol

4 Ways Medical Personnel Can Implement Policy into Patient Safety Protocol

patient safety in healthcare

Ensuring patient safety has become a focal point for healthcare organizations. (Photo courtesy of pexels)

The following guest post on improving patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Rachelle Wilber.

The safety of patients in a medical facility is just as important as treating their condition. People must feel protected when visiting a hospital or clinic. Otherwise, they will be reluctant to seek medical care in times of need. Medical personnel have a unique perspective in terms of patient care, which can be helpful for improving safety measures. Here are four ways that doctors, nurses, and other staff can encourage necessary changes to patient safety protocols.

Record Risks & Vulnerabilities

Administrators prefer to work with facts and figures. They rely on this type of data to reveal problems and highlight successes. Those with concerns about patient safety should thoroughly document this issue, including any ideas for a solution. This information will have a much greater impact than a passionate speech.

Share Patient Concerns

Customer service is a core principle of the medical field. An important part of making someone feel safe is listening to them. Doctors and nurses can speak for their patients, and allow their fears to be heard. For example, many parents are concerned about childhood healthcare in this country. Medical facilities can share information about the importance of a balanced diet, or how to address mental and emotional issues.

Continuing Education

It may be difficult to influence certain policies and procedures when you are unfamiliar with how things work. Dealing with matters that affect the public can be extremely complicated. Medical personnel who are serious about having an impact should consider continuing their education. Earning a master’s in public administration can prepare you for the challenges of creating a safe and comfortable environment for the patients.

Consult the Legal Department

Sometimes, administrators are hesitant to make changes because they are worried about legal ramifications. They may fear that the end result leads to more problems than solutions. While gathering the details on a particular problem and how to address it, it would be helpful to consult the facility’s legal department. They can explain any laws involved and how to adhere to them. This will smooth things over with administration, so your ideas can be seriously considered.

Security and risk management are generally put in the hands of a facility’s administration. Along with other things, their job is to implement and maintain procedures for threats and emergency situations. However, patient protection is a unified effort. Healthcare providers spend more time with patients than anyone else in a facility. Their insight is a necessary component of any safety protocol.

Author bio:

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

patient ID in healthcare

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

patient ID in healthcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

patient safety

4 Ways To Encourage Patient Safety In Your Dental Office

patient safety

Patient safety in a dental office is often interconnected with the quality of care received. (Photo courtesy of 123RF).

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

Safety is an important element of any business that serves the general population, and dental offices are no exception. Providing a safe environment is one way that dentists can help their patients relax and have a good experience during dental appointments. Following are 4 ways that dentists can encourage patient safety in their dental clinics and offices.

Follow OSHA Standards For Bloodborne Pathogens

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has established standards to keep both staff and patients free from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. These standards include:

– employee training
– proper disposal of hazardous waste materials
– personal protection gear such as gloves, masks, gowns, and eye protection
– written plan on how to control hazardous waste, needles and other “sharps”, and what to do if anyone is exposed. This plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
– proper documentation of the infection controls in place

All the employees should be aware of what the standards are for handling biowaste products to prevent bloodborne pathogen contamination. Knowing and following the standards keeps not only the patients safe, but the staff as well.

Modern And Well-Maintained Equipment

Using modern up-to-date equipment is another way dental offices can encourage patient safety. Not only should the equipment be modern, but it must be maintained to keep it safe and identify any weaknesses that could lead to an accident.

Procedure and medical chairs are a perfect example. Each chair needs to be designed for the comfort and safety of not only the patient, but the dentist and other staff members as well. The chair needs to be able to be positioned so that the dentist has easy access to the patient without strain or getting tired during long procedures.

Avoid Cross-Contamination By Keeping A Clean Environment

It goes without saying that every inch of the dental office or clinic needs to be clean. It’s not enough that things look clean. Surfaces need to be wiped daily because if there is dust, there is bound to be bacteria as well. Chairs need to be carefully wiped between each patient. Things like drawer handles, x-ray switches, and anything that gets touched needs to be wiped with an antibacterial disinfectant wipe. In addition, the front desk and the waiting room need to be clean and clutter-free. This will help the patient to feel comfortable that the entire dental practice is a tight operation where nothing is overlooked.

Radiation Safety Practices

Exposure to radiation happens whenever x-rays are taken of a patient. Another way to encourage patient safety is to practice radiation safety for both the patient and the dental staff. Ensure that the x-ray machine is operating at peak efficiency with periodic inspections. Make sure the lead aprons are used as required and are in good shape with no cracks or tears. Any aprons that are showing their wear should be discarded and replaced. Proper storage of the lead aprons will help prolong their life and prevent radiation leaks. Ensure that any dental personnel using the x-ray machines are trained in the proper use of the machines for both patient protection and their own.

Patient safety and overall quality of care go hand in hand. If a patient sees that safety is a top priority in dental offices and clinics, their perception will be that the overall care provided is also a top priority. Dentistry has risks and hazards just like any other medical procedure. From the high speed drills, to the chemicals used in dental procedures, to the fact that dentistry takes place so close to the airway, the risks involved with dental work can be life-threatening. Keeping the focus on patient safety will help minimize the risks. Patient safety is an important part of every dental practice.

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2