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use patient photos to increase patient safety in healthcare

Why Patient Photos Should Be Linked to Medical Records

use patient photos to increase patient safety in healthcare

Why aren’t more healthcare providers capturing patient photos during registration?

The following post on why patient photos should be added to medical records to improve patient safety was submitted by Michael Trader, President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®

The Push to Increase Patient ID Accuracy and Safety

Achieving accurate patient identification in healthcare is an important catalyst to ensure safe, cost-effective care delivery. Although we believe that accurate patient ID should have received more attention and scrutiny parallel to the rapid digitization of the healthcare industry, the issue has finally been thrust into the spotlight by powerful organizations such as AHIMA, the ONC, and CHIME as something that must be solved in order for other mandates (e.g. interoperability, health information exchange, population health, etc.) to materialize. 

Many healthcare organizations have proactively addressed the lingering issue of accurate patient identification by implementing new technologies that supplement existing methods of obtaining demographic information, insurance cards, and proof of ID. The idea is to add biometrics as an added layer of identity protection, security, and identification accuracy by asking patients to provide a physiological token prior to accessing health data and/or medical services. Biometrics for patient ID has rapidly caught on as a proven method to prevent fraud and medical ID theft, improve data integrity, prevent duplicate medical records, and safeguard protected health information (PHI).

Patient Photos Should be Captured During Registration

Despite the rising demand for biometric patient identification to improve patient identification and increase safety, not all solutions are created equal. Healthcare organizations that invest in unilateral biometric patient identification solutions quickly discover that they do not have the ability to easily and automatically capture the patient photo during registration and subsequent visits. This is unfortunate as the photo plays an important role in patient safety and in driving additional value throughout the ecosystem.

In addition, capturing the patient photo with a web camera during initial registration is not enough. This method often produces very poor quality photos, adds an extra step to the process, and the photos cannot be relied upon for other potential uses, such as facial recognition to verify patient identities during remote encounters. 

One important differentiator that should be considered when researching a biometric ID solution is whether or not it offers the ability to capture a high-quality patient photo and recognize the patient in a single step. Why?

  • Patient photos are proven to reduce medical errors.
  • Respected, influential healthcare organizations recommend including patient photos with their medical record.
  • Patient photos increase patient safety.
  • Photos can be used as a second credential for multi-factor patient authentication.
  • The photo serves as a visual reminder to the provider, thereby enhancing caregiver communication with the patient.
  • High-quality patient photos allow healthcare providers to leverage facial recognition for accurate patient ID when patient’s access PHI or services in non-traditional settings such as mHealth apps, patient portals, and telemedicine. This enables a holistic approach to establishing accurate patient ID because it addresses all points along the care continuum instead of a narrow approach that only covers patient ID at the point of service in a brick and mortar setting.
  • In areas like the ED where time is critical, utilizing a web camera and adding an extra step in the workflow is impractical and inefficient.

Criteria that Defines an Effective Biometric Patient ID Solution

In addition to the points mentioned above and the standard questions that should be asked when researching the adoption of a biometric patient ID solution, we recommend that healthcare providers seriously consider the unique value of a platform like RightPatient® that seamlessly captures patient photos and identifies patients in a single step during registration, subsequent visits to a medical facility, and other touchpoints along the care continuum. This establishes a concrete, two-factor audit trail of patient visit activity and identity assurance.

Verify that the biometric patient ID solution offers the following patient photo capture features:

  • Convenience – Is the patient photo capture process easy and convenient for patients and staff? Photo capture should happen simultaneously with capturing their biometric credentials and should be fast. Otherwise, you run into delays and registration roadblocks in areas like the emergency room where time is of the essence.
  • Seamless integration and functionality – Patient identification and photo capture should be a seamless part of EHR workflow and not require staff to sign in and out of applications or constantly toggle between applications. 
  • Affordability – Biometric patient ID platforms that offer simultaneous photo capture should be flexible and affordable and offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model option.

Conclusion

Capturing patient photos to increase safety and reduce medical costs is not a new concept in healthcare, yet it has failed to become mainstream compared to other industries. In fact, according to a recent report from the ECRI, despite the proven research that photos increase safety and engagement, only 20% of existing providers currently use patient photos. 20%! Think about that in the context of other industries that have used customer photos as part of their routine identification security protocols for years: membership management (e.g. gyms, fitness clubs), banking and finance, retail, education, government — the list is long.

If other industries have relied on the use of photos to augment identification accuracy, why is healthcare so far behind the curve? It seems as if healthcare market conditions and current and future initiatives to improve delivery, achieve better outcomes, perfect individual and population health, and reduce the cost of care are setting the stage for technology that can quickly and seamlessly capture patient photos as part of the identification process. The question is, are you investing in the right solution to harness this power?

using patient photos to increase patient safety in healthcareMichael Trader is President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®. Michael is responsible for overseeing business development and marketing activities, government outreach, and for providing senior leadership on business and policy issues.

 

University Health Reaps Benefits of Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

University Health Reaps Benefits of Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

photo biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Augusta, GA based University Health Care implemented photo biometrics for patient ID to increase patient safety.

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

Biometric Patient ID No Longer a Movie Prop

It wasn’t so long ago that the term “biometric patient ID” wasn’t even in the lexicon of healthcare providers as a reliable means to improve patient safety, eliminate duplicate medical records, prevent medical ID theft, and increase patient data integrity. In fact, just a few years ago, many providers had never even heard of biometrics used to accurately identify patients and those that did know about the technology could only relate to what they had seen on the movie screen or read in a science fantasy novel. 

Today, the use of biometrics for patient ID in healthcare has sharply risen as more healthcare organizations realize the technology’s potential to better protect individuals from the perils of misidentification and better understand the ability of select biometric patient ID solutions to be seamlessly integrated into EHR workflow.

However, what stands as a true testament to the rising use of biometrics for patient identification in healthcare is the ability of the technology to demonstrate realized return on investment (ROI) against the goals set forth prior to implementation. In other words, the true “proof in the pudding” of biometrics for patient ID can be benchmarked through multiple objectives — how significant was the reduction in duplicate medical records and chart corrections? What percentage of patients are opting into the biometric patient ID system? Has investment in biometrics for patient ID streamlined patient registration? Is the technology effective in reducing cases of fraud and medical ID theft?

University Health Deploys Photo Biometrics for Patient ID

In most cases, biometric patient identification deployments must mature to a certain level in order to measure the impact on improving patient safety and the additional aforementioned goals and objectives. In other words, beyond restricting medical ID theft and healthcare fraud at the point of service, it’s impractical to expect immediate results after deploying biometrics for patient ID. The system must be in place for a certain period of time before healthcare providers can expect to reap additional benefits — categories such as patient acceptance and enrollment and reduction of duplicate medical records for example.

Augusta, GA based University Health Care System is a classic example of a healthcare organization that had clear goals and objectives in mind prior to implementing biometrics for patient ID and are now realizing benefits from their choice of photo biometrics over other hardware alternatives. University Health officials have been pleased of the simplicity of photo biometrics where patients take their photo and are instantly identified followed by the retrival of their correct medical record in the Epic EHR system. With over 99% of patients choosing to enroll in the biometric patient ID solution, University quickly amassed a database of 50,000 patients to participate and the numbers keep increasing each day.

Perhaps equally important is the fact that since implementing RightPatient®, University Health has seen nearly a 30% decrease in chart corrections, defined as the health information management (HIM) department’s need to go back into a chart and correct any data entry errors during the patient registration process. RightPatient® has also been instrumental to eliminate write–offs directly related to patient fraud — in one case a patient attempted to commit healthcare fraud by using multiple aliases in the ED to illegally obtain prescription drugs. Photo biometrics quickly caught the patient by revealing they had previously enrolled under s separate identity and University Health officials were able to quickly notify on-site authorities who sprang into action.

Conclusion

University Health made a conscious choice to implement photo biometrics for patient ID after carefully evaluating the characteristics and limitations of fingerprint and palm vein. They concluded that photo biometrics was the most accurate, hygienic, and versatile solution available with strong potential for future deployment at additional patient touchpoints including mobile devices, patient portals, and telehealth — touchpoints along the care continuum that fingerprint and palm vein just do not have the ability to address.

Learn more about University Health’s use of photo biometrics for patient ID and stay tuned for more posts on what benefits our end users realize after investing in photo biometrics for patient ID. 

patient ID in healthcareBrad 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.

patient ID biometric modality realities

How to Choose the Right Biometric Modality for Patient ID in Healthcare

patient ID biometric modality realities

Misinformation and confusion surrounding biometric patient ID hardware modalities are cleared up in our latest white paper.

The following post on patient ID in healthcare was submitted by Michael Trader, Co-Founder and President of RightPatient®

We are excited to announce the release of a brand new white paper entitled: Choosing the Most Effective Biometric Solution for Patient Identification in Healthcare (Assessing the characteristics and capabilities of biometric options). The white paper assesses the capabilities and limitations of fingerprint, palm vein, and photo biometrics (iris and facial recognition) for patient ID in healthcare.

The journey to select the most suitable biometric modality for patient identification in healthcare should include an assessment of hardware capabilities and limitations. This white paper was written and published as an educational resource for healthcare organizations to develop a deeper understanding of device characteristics and limitations. Due to persistent misinformation about the ability of select biometric modalities to perform accurate patient ID in healthcare and confusion on the realities of real world results post implementation we feel that this white paper stands as an authoritative guide that should be included in any and all comprehensive due diligence of biometrics.

Over 14 years of experience in real world implementations of fingerprint, palm vein, and photo biometrics has provided us with a wealth of knowledge and research on how these modalities operate when deployed and an authoritative resource to determine which devices can deliver on the promise that effective patient ID solutions offer:

  • Elimination of duplicate medical records and overlays
  • Prevention of medical ID theft and healthcare fraud
  • Increasing and sustaining patient data integrity
  • Increasing patient safety
  • Providing accurate patient ID at ANY point along the care continuum

Did you know that select biometric modalities covered in the white paper do not have the ability to accomplish some of these goals? We encourage you to contact us and request your copy of this important and informative white paper to provide a more thorough background and understanding of biometric patient identification realities versus marketing fluff.

We are confident that you will find value in our research and analysis based on a decade and a half of experience in the biometric identification management industry and extensive experience with all of the modalities covered in the white paper. Please click here to request a copy of the research report. 

rightpatient intrepid healthcare about current state of patient identification in healthcare podcastsMichael Trader is President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®. Michael is responsible for overseeing business development and marketing activities, government outreach, and for providing senior leadership on business and policy issues.

photo biometrics is used in healthcare to identify patients

How Photo Biometrics Can Improve Healthcare Outcomes for Patients

photo biometrics is used in healthcare to identify patients

The rising use of photo biometrics for patient ID in healthcare is helping to increase patient safety, reduce medical errors, and improve revenue cycle management.

The following guest post on the rising use of photo biometrics for patient ID in healthcare was submitted by Amanda Gaid.

Photo biometrics are increasingly being used for passports and other identification needs. Medical facilities and practices are also beginning to see the merit in utilizing photo biometrics for patient identification. There are many ways that photo biometrics can be beneficial for providers, insurance companies, and especially patients. Using photo biometrics can help to improve healthcare outcomes for patients in a number of ways.

Helps Prevent Medical Identity Theft

Photo biometrics help to ensure that a patient receiving medication and treatment is in fact the patient identified on a medical card. Medical identity theft is widespread, with many people posing as patients in order to receive drugs. Photo biometrics link a patient’s photograph and iris biometrics to a set of medical records. Using this system ensures that patients will not be misidentified and makes it very difficult for thieves to bypass.

Improves Data Integrity

When medical information is breached by identity thieves, health records may show that patients received treatments and medications that were actually taken advantage of by thieves. This can be dangerous for patients that really need these treatments. Blood pressure and other clinical measurements may also be skewed by thieves posing as patients. Protecting this information can help to ensure greater data integrity.

May Help Patients That Can’t Help Themselves

Patients that are brought into a medical facility unconscious or that face advanced stages of cognitive decline may not be able to provide crucial medical information in times of emergency. Photo biometrics allow medical providers to identify a patient and access a wealth of information about allergies, current medications, and conditions that may be instrumental in providing treatment. This may help to protect patients from medication reactions, infections, and other issues while allowing providers to treat patients quickly.

Can Help Prevent Errors in Medical Billing

Medical billing errors can occur due to a number of different circumstances. In some cases, medical practices and hospitals that are switching over to electronic health records (EHRs) will inadvertently replicate an entire patient’s history, showing double treatments and visits. In other cases records may be filed incorrectly. Thieves may also add to inaccuracy of medical billing information. Linking all EHRs and billing information to photo biometrics can prevent billing errors and help to ensure accuracy of patient financial information.

Increases Patient Satisfaction Levels

Patient satisfaction can have an impact on patient outcomes. Patients are more likely to follow medical advice and attend regular medical visits when the experience is pleasant and the provider is trusted. Photo biometrics can make patients feel more secure and can expedite visits and treatment. Patients may also be able to access their own information more conveniently and securely, which can increase empowerment and patient engagement.

Amanda Gaid is a recent college graduate and avid writer. While her primary focus in college was Psychology, Gaid minored in English Literature and Public Health. She draws on her knowledge of these subjects to create online content that addresses human needs in a simple way. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling as well as beach breaks and playing with her dog.

RightPatient expands the use of photo biometrics to Ireland's healthcare providers

Expanding Biometric Patient Identification to Raise Patient Safety Levels in Ireland

new partnership brings accurate patient identification technology to Ireland's healthcare providers

Our new partnership with The Lava Group will help to improve accurate patient identification for healthcare providers in Ireland.

The following post was submitted by Michael Trader, President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®

Excited to announce that RightPatient® has partnered with The Lava Group to expand the use of photo biometrics for accurate patient identification to healthcare providers in Ireland! The goal is to expand use of our patient identification platform to Ireland’s healthcare providers who seek to implement technology that increases patient safety, prevents medical identity theft, and eliminates duplicate medical records.

The Lava Group are experts in providing innovative solutions for the criminal justice and connected health markets with 20 years of experience in some of the most complex and demanding security environments across Europe. They have a long and successful track record in biometric system integration and are well positioned to introduce photo biometrics to ensure accurate patient identification across Ireland.

Accurate patient identification across the care continuum is a persistent global challenge as healthcare organizations continue to struggle with providing an accurate, complete view of patient data across multiple, often disparate providers. Our partnership with The Lava Group is an important step in RightPatient’s efforts to solve the global patient identity challenge.

You can read the full news release on our Web site here

rightpatient-intrepid-healthcare-about-current-state-of-patient-identification-in-healthcare-podcastsMichael Trader is President and Co-Founder of RightPatient®. Michael is responsible for overseeing business development and marketing activities, government outreach, and for providing senior leadership on business and policy issues.

biometric patient identification prevents healthcare fraud

RightPatient® Prevents Healthcare Fraud at University Health System

RightPatient® Prevents Healthcare Fraud at University Health System

Through the use of photo biometrics, the University Health System was able to catch a patient attempting to commit healthcare fraud in the ED.

Healthcare Fraud Jeopardizes Patient Safety and Raises the Cost of Care

Emergency Departments (ED) can be subjected to healthcare fraud from individuals without insurance seeking care, especially those with manageable chronic conditions. These patients often go to hospital EDs because they don’t have access to any source of care and in a large number of cases, attempt to defraud the healthcare system by providing different names, dates of birth, or other demographic information during registration. 

Hospital patient access staff on alert for healthcare fraud often must strike a tricky balance of ensuring a patient receives timely care with the need to identify and prevent these individuals from illegally obtaining medical services that could raise liability and possibly harm the patient.

Patients who may be trying to defraud the system can raise the cost of care for all of us with most of the cost to treat these individuals passed on to insurance providers that raise premiums to subsidize care provided to the uninsured. It’s a persistent problem in healthcare that jeopardizes patient safety.

Medical Identity Theft and Healthcare Fraud are Persistent Patient Safety Problems in Healthcare

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) estimates that the financial losses due to health care fraud are in the tens of billions of dollars each year. The Ponemon Institute released a study earlier this year that reported a 21.7% increase in medical identity theft cases since the previous year’s study.

A costly and often complex and time consuming issue to resolve, healthcare fraud and medical identity theft often financially decimate victims and healthcare institutions and can have a ripple effect that negatively impacts provider reputation. Add to that evolving patient expectations that healthcare providers are taking the necessary steps to protect their identities and ensure the privacy of their protected health information (PHI), and it’s clear that this is a festering problem in the industry that deserves immediate and swift preventative action.

Implementing Biometric Patient Identification to Identify Potential Healthcare Fraud

When University Health System staff sat down to address the problem of healthcare fraud and began to assess patient authentication technology options that had the potential to prevent it, they decided to deploy RightPatient® biometric patient identification as part of an overall strategy to increase patient safety, eliminate duplicate medical records, and prevent medical identity theft and fraud throughout their network. Using photo biometrics as their preferred modality, University launched the RightPatient® patient identification system in the summer of 2015 at both hospitals in their network and began registering patients and linking their unique biometric credentials to a single electronic health record (EHR).

Thusfar, the deployment has been a resounding success, with over 99% of patients opting in to ensure the safety and privacy of their PHI. University placed a great deal of emphasis to ensure their staff understood why the RightPatient® solution was implemented and meticulously trained patient access personnel on how to properly use the system prior to launch.

Their efforts paid off.

Recently, a patient was registered through the ED in the RightPatient® system, and then returned to the same ED days later claiming a different date of birth and a different last name. Following hospital registration protocol, the patient access representative took the patient’s photo with an iris camera and the RightPatient® system immediately flagged the patient’s medical record and instantly notified staff that the patient had previously enrolled with their biometric credentials already linked to another unique EHR. University staff then realized that the patient was attempting to assume another identity and took action to prevent it.

Even if this patient had enrolled in the RightPatient® biometric patient identification system at another location within University’s network, they still would have been flagged as a potential fraud case if they returned to a different facility due to the fact that RightPatient® seamlessly integrated with University’s Epic EHR system and can be used at any point along the care continuum, regardless of the patient’s physical location within the network (RightPatient® can even be used to authenticate an identity on patient portals and mHealth applications!).

Conclusion

The persistent and dangerous problem of medical identity theft and healthcare fraud is a direct threat to patient safety but also has repercussions that impact many other facets of care delivery. Implementing modern patient identification technologies that have the unique ability to prevent healthcare fraud should be a key goal for any medical facility set on improving safety, lowering liability, and raising the quality of care. The University Health System case clearly demonstrates that RightPatient® deters medical identity theft and healthcare fraud throughout the care continuum by linking a patient’s unique biometric credentials to one medical record.

Thank you to the staff at University for allowing us to share this story with our community!

photo biometrics stopped healthcare fraud

RightPatient® Helps Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Fight Healthcare Fraud

photo biometrics for patient identification prevents healthcare fraud

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital recently used photo biometrics to prevent healthcare fraud.

Prescription Drug Abuse 

Eliminating fraud is a pressing issue in healthcare that continues to threaten patient safety. The FBI states on their Web site: “With no signs of slowing down, healthcare fraud is a rising threat, with national health care expenditures estimated to exceed $3 trillion in 2014 and spending continuing to outpace inflation.” (source:  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/health-care-fraud). On average, healthcare fraud accounts for 10% of our nation’s annual healthcare expenditure.

One form of healthcare fraud seen in emergency departments at hospitals around the country is individuals attempting to commit identity theft in order to obtain prescription medication.With approximately 8.76 million people in the U.S. abusing prescription medication (source: https://www.columbusrecoverycenter.com/prescription-drug-abuse-in-america/) and the lion’s share of those medications coming from a doctor’s prescription, medical facilities are proactively stepping up their efforts to implement stronger patient identification safeguards to ensure that the problem is addressed. After all, many patients may not understand the health dangers and risks of someone stealing your identity and inaccurate health data being attributed to your medical record – it is extremely dangerous and could result in serious injury, even death should a clinician act on incorrect protected health data (PHI) in your medical record. 

Just how bad is the problem of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.? Consider the fact that every day in the United States, 44 people die as a result of prescription opioid overdose. Fortunately, there are tools available to catch identity fraud at the point-of-service in hospitals before harm is done.

Using Photo Biometrics to Deter Healthcare Fraud

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital implemented the RightPatient® patient identity management solution using photo biometrics to help support patient safety, eliminate duplicate medical records, and prevent and deter medical identity theft. Recently, a patient arrived at the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital emergency room seeking treatment for an injury that according to the patient had just occurred in the prior hour. The patient signed in under a fraudulent name, date of birth, address, invalid marital status, a disconnected phone number, invalid employment status, fraudulent emergency contact, and an invalid social security number. The patient proceeded with registration, and signed all admission paperwork under the fraudulent information.

During the registration process, the registration clerk used the RightPatient® photo biometrics solution to enroll the patient since this was (according the patient) the first time they had ever been to the hospital. The RightPatient® system worked just as it was designed, sending the registration clerk an alert that indicated the patent had been previously enrolled and that their biometric credentials had already been linked to another unique electronic medical record, providing the medical record number the patient had been registered under.

The clerk was then able to access the medical record the patient had been previously registered under and after review, Hugh Chatham was able to see other visits for that same day in other clinic/practice locations. A decision was made to contact local authorities.

Thanks to the RightPatient® software and the efforts of this staff member, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital was able to securely identify the patient, avoid duplicate medical records, prevent identity theft and associated healthcare costs, and help maintain a safe environment for patients. 

Conclusion

Encouraging healthcare facilities to implement safeguards that ensure accurate patient authentication through technologies such as photo biometrics has been our mission since we founded RightPatient®. We will continue to share our success stories with others to help educate and inform in the overall effort to remove fraud and increase patient safety in healthcare.

Have a story on how the use of biometrics prevented a potential case of healthcare fraud? Please share it with us in the comments!