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unidentified-patient-identification-error

Patient identification error causes yet another grave mistake

Another day, another mistaken patient identification error. However, it was a bit different in this case. Two sisters were informed that their brother was on life support and that is the premise of the whole fiasco.

unidentified-patient-identification-error

The sisters, Rosie Brooks, and Brenda Bennett-Johnson received a call from an official that someone they believed to be their brother Alfonso was breathing with the help of a ventilator at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center of Chicago. However, the sisters stated that they didn’t talk much to their brother. The call started with someone enquiring about relatives of Alfonso, and Brooks replied that she was the sister, and then the official broke the news- that he was fighting for his life in the ICU, explaining that he was beaten quite severely, especially the face.

 The Chicago police had found the man beaten to a pulp, and according to reports had neither clothes nor any means of identification on his body. A police spokesperson said that witnesses of the incident identified the injured man as one Elijah Bennett. Later on, he was rushed to the hospital and was on life support. 

 During his time in the hospital, as nobody came looking for him, the hospital staff had to take the help of the police in identifying him. The spokesperson said that their database had no “Elijah Bennett,” however, they did find “Alfonso Bennett.” The police later on handed over a picture so that the hospital could help identify any family members of the unfortunate patient. All these events led to the call to Brooks, yet another patient identification error. 

 When the sisters rushed to the hospital, they failed to identify the man as their brother Alfonso. However, CPD kept saying that it was their brother. According to the nurse, police used the help of mugshots to identify him, but due to budgetary issues, a proper ID could not be made. 

 However, the patient’s situation was worsening, and the sisters faced a challenging situation- whether or not to remove his life support. With immeasurable sadness, they had to sign papers stating that this man was their brother and to remove his life support, and as expected, the man passed away, unfortunately.

 After this series of events, the story did not end. After the untimely death of the “brother,” the sisters started making preparations for his funeral, to give him a proper sendoff. Before they could carry out the planning, however, what happened next was a scene out of a dramatic movie- the brother, Alfonso, walked right through the front door of the house of the one sister! She shouted over the phone to her other sister, exclaiming that the brother they had thought was dead is very much alive and healthy and that it almost gave her a heart attack. 

However, this newfound relief and happiness quickly turned into sadness, regret, and remorse- they realized that they had given the green light to end the life of a stranger, thinking it was their brother. They shared how they felt with the media and that they were extremely remorseful about deciding everything about someone unknown. However, the police, later on, identified the person with the help of fingerprints and started looking for his family. Everyone involved was deeply disturbed by this incident and thinking that there are no procedures or strategies to ensure such cases do not happen again in the future. However, this is not an isolated incident, as a very similar situation occurred in 2018. 

Many people are worried that as these incidents are recurring, there is no way to avoid this. They are wrong. RightPatient would have helped the situation in reducing such errors. It is a biometric patient identification system which, and with the help of iris scanning modality, it reduces not only any kind of patient identification error but is also safe, convenient, and quick. Since no physical contact is required, all it needs is a glance from the patient for registration and matching- thus being hygienic and easy to use for both patients and physicians. All these features help to enhance patient safety as well as improve the patient experience, reducing claims by 35% and saving a lot of costs of healthcare systems in the process.

Statistics regarding how low HAC score reduces CMS and incurs loss

CMS cuts payments to 800 hospitals for patient safety incidents – is yours next?

Patient safety incidents should be taken seriously by all hospitals. Unfortunately, CMS is penalizing 800 of them for having the highest rates of patient injuries and infections. The agency will trim these hospitals’ Medicare payments in the fiscal year 2019.

The HAC Reduction Program is a Medicare pay-for-performance program that supports CMS’s long-standing effort to link Medicare payments to healthcare quality in the inpatient hospital setting. Put more simply, hospitals are offered a financial incentive for preventing harm to patients! Under the program, a hospital’s total score is based on its performance across six quality measures. Each year, Medicare cuts payments by 1 percent for hospitals that fall in the worst-performing quartile due to patient safety incidents.

It’s alarming that, according to Kaiser Health News, 110 hospitals are being penalized in the fiscal year 2019 for the fifth straight time. Considering the daily news announcements about hospitals that are suffering financially or have gone out of business, we wonder why they aren’t taking more steps to address this issue.

Statistics regarding how low HAC score reduces CMS and incurs loss due to patient safety incidentsIf you think that only small rural hospitals are facing this problem, you will be surprised. CMS recently threatened to terminate Vanderbilt’s Medicare contract after a fatal medication errorVanderbilt!

Since patients share common names and show up to the hospital many times without proper identification, 8-10% percent of the time their existing medical record is not found or they are potentially treated as a different person. This is a serious incident that can happen in every hospital at any time.

While the industry is going through serious financial pressure, I don’t think any hospital can afford to wait on this issue and get carried away with focusing solely on switching or upgrading EHR systems. Your hospital is just an event away from losing medicare payments due to patient mismatches. Someone can lose their life and the reputation of your organization will forever be tainted. That’s why many prominent healthcare providers have implemented our RightPatient biometric patient ID method to protect their patients and to protect themselves by preventing patient safety incidents caused by identification issues.

Piece of medical record over other documents

The curious case of a mistaken patient identity

Mistaken patient identities in the healthcare industry are nothing new- a lot of people have faced it, and it occurs almost every day in the US. However, this time, it was not news of someone who suffered from it, but rather a couple who got saved from just being another mistaken patient identity. This mishap was properly detected and the victims were fortunately saved from a huge financial loss.

Piece of medical record over other documents

The actual story

A Florida-based couple would have been the victims of mistaken patient identity and almost lost a lot of money. Mrs. Barding detected the error when she identified that Cigna, her insurance company, was processing a whopping $2.2 million in medical bills.

How did she figure it out? With the help of Mr. Barding, the couple identified that the bills were actually associated with his identical twin, Vance Barding, who was burned in a work accident and sadly passed away six weeks later from complications.

Mrs. Barding told that Cigna billed them for her brother-in-law’s care and had deducted $3000 from her health reimbursement account. However, after notifying the insurance company, they verified the claim and stopped billing the couple, as well as returning the money to Mrs. Barding’s account. This was all due to the mistaken patient identity. 

Cigna also stated that there are always a large number of claims which are made in error by different healthcare providers, and they have thus discussed with the latter in order to be more vigilant about such erroneous bills.

The healthcare provider in question is Orlando Health and it was provided incorrect information, due to which this whole situation arose. However, as it was made aware, they worked with necessary parties in order to rectify the mistake. This was a fortunate case where the would-be victims were saved due to the vigilance of the wife. Unfortunately, not every victim has a Mrs. Barding beside them.

Some statistics regarding mistaken patient identity errors 

A survey conducted by Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH) revealed that 54% of the respondents are unhappy with the current patient identification methods. Another research shows that 10% of the overall patients are misidentified during entry. This mostly happens due to the large healthcare systems, which have a lot of patients to cover, and thus they make mistakes due to human errors, miscommunication, and sometimes in order to save time. The PSQH survey also shows that 89% of the respondents believe that proper patient identification is a vital part and is of paramount importance to their organizations. On the other hand, only 4% believe that the current patient identification process is completely accurate.

How to avoid patient identification errors? 

Patient identification using biometrics is the only way to eliminate this problem. It not only is error-free, but it is also instantaneous, speeding up the process for patient care, as well as safe.

RightPatient AI is used by a number of notable hospitals as well as thousands of outpatient sites, transforming the experience of the patients as well as the healthcare professionals. It not only eliminates the errors, but it also saves time in order to focus on patient care. It is also fully compatible with any EHR system as well as third-party apps, thus creating a seamless experience for the end user. It uses iris scanning to identify the patients and then pull the relevant data from their EHR. Take Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) as an example. It is located in an area where a lot of people share common names, either first or last. Thus, it posed risks of incorrect record documentation, patient record mix-ups, and providing wrong prescriptions. RightPatient has helped TGMC in eliminating this issue entirely using Photo Biometrics along with iris scanning. It has an advantage over most other biometric modalities- iris scanning does not require any physical contact on the patient’s end, thus, no risks of infections or diseases via contact. Duplication and errors are all things of the past with RightPatient. 17 years of experience in AI and human recognition is proof of it.

patient safety infection control in healthcare

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After Surgery

patient safety infection control in healthcare

Strong infection control policies are an important factor to maintaining patient safety in healthcare. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

The following is a guest post on how infection control impacts patient safety in healthcare.

While most patients undergoing surgery do not experience infection, surgical site infections still present a consistent challenge for surgeons and their patients. Surgical wound infections are one of the more common types of surgical site infection and postoperative complications. Detected approximately one week following a surgery, surgical wound infections are often attributed to poor surgical technique and contamination of the operative field.

The primary symptoms of surgical site infections are redness and pain at the surgical site, cloudy fluid draining from wound, and fever. Surgical wound infections will become red and inflamed if infection occurs.

When surgical site infections do occur they can raise treatment costs substantially. This is due to the fact that they necessitate prolonged hospitalization, antibiotic treatment, diagnostic care, and in rare cases, additional surgery.

Unfortunately, eliminating bacterial exposure of patients entirely pre-, during, and post-surgery is not possible. This is why broad-spectrum antibiotic use has become de rigeur for nearly all surgeries conducted with an anaesthetic. However, even this preventive method does not prevent all infections, and additional steps should be taken. Contrary to popular belief, pre-surgery preparations can be just as important as precautions taken during and after surgery.

Before Surgery

Surgeons often fixate on sterilization practices that pertain to them, sometimes at the expense of site sterilization of the patient. While washing the hands and arms up the elbows with antiseptic soap and wearing a mask, gloves, and gown are certainly important, the cleansing of the surgical site and attention to the patient are just as important.

Skin at and around the surgical site should be washed with an antibacterial soap, prior to the patient’s arrival in the operating room. The patient should also be sure to wear a fresh, clean hospital gown to the surgery. Even though the surgical site will be dressed post-procedure, this will reduce any additional exposure is critical to reducing infection rates as much as possible.

The patient should also be advised to not shave the area in the 48 hours leading up to surgery since razors can irritate the skin, making the area more prone to infection. If hair removal needs to occur in order to increase visibility of the site, it should be clipped rather than shaved.

In many instances, it is also advisable to administer preoperative antibiotics. Awareness of any other health indicators, such as a history of diabetes or smoking, can also help determine the patient’s likelihood for infection.

During Surgery

During surgery, the anaesthesiologist may be of more use in preventing infection than the surgeon. There is evidence that maintaining normothermia and supplementing with oxygen can help to reduce the risk of surgical infection. Consulting with the anaesthesiologist prior to surgery in order to develop an ideal procedure can be useful.

While concern for maintaining sterile surgical tools and a sterile field are certainly important, it is also imperative to consider that most contamination comes from the patient’s own microbiology. Bacteria, yeast and viral strains living on the patient’s skin are the primary source of contamination.

This necessitates the use of a pre-surgical scrub at the operation site. Those used most commonly are iodine- or chlorhexidine-based solutions. Alcohol-based solutions work differently than the first two by denaturing bacterial cell walls. There is some evidence that using a combination of scrub preparations yields better results.

Microbiota within the organ cavity may also play a role. The area of the body operated on is a key determinant in the prevalence of certain infections over others. For instance, cardiac, neurosurgery and ophthalmic surgery all carry increased risk of S aureus infection. Noncardiac thoracic surgery also increases risk of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. Abdominal and gastrointestinal surgeries carry an increased risk of infection by gram-negative bacilli.

Being mindful of the operative field and reducing the number of tissues a single instrument touches can help to reduce infection rates.

how to improve patient safety in healthcare through infection control

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

After Surgery

Hand washing is just as important following the operation as it is in the scrub room. Advise nurses and all other staff to wash their hands prior to interacting with the patient, and certainly before assisting with examinations or arranging bed clothing. The patient’s visitors should also be advised to wash their hands and discouraged from touching the wound site or dressing.

When the patient is ready to be discharged, make sure that they have received clear instructions on how to care for their wound, quizzing them and caretakers if needed. Antibiotic care should be continued as indicated. Insisting on your availability for any questions involving follow up treatment can go a long way towards making sure that your patient takes the best care possible, preventing postoperative infection.

Mindful attention to detail in the prevention of infection from the time is admitted into the hospital to the time that they leave is the only way to reduce infection rates.

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After SurgeryAuthor Bio: Andrew is a keen student studying to become a dentist. His passion for dentistry first ignited when visiting his father at the local practice he worked for. He currently writes for Twentytooth.com and hopes that after studying he can open his own dental practice and help people in need with their oral health.

implement iris recognition for patient identification in healthcare

Patient Safety a Focal Point for Latest RightPatient Deployment

implement iris recognition for patient identification in healthcare

Community Medical Centers recently implemented RightPatient to improve patient safety and revenue cycle management. (Photo courtesy of The Fresno Bee.)

Working to help increase patient safety in healthcare, Community Medical Centers (CMC) in Fresno, CA knew that implementing RightPatient using photo biometrics for patient identification was a step in the right direction. With a quick snap of a camera, patients can now rest assured that their medical identities are protected and clinicians will always have the most up-to-date, comprehensive medical record in their possession during treatment and care. 

The benefits of RightPatient extend beyond protecting patient medical identities however. A recent article in The Fresno Bee that covered the deployment of photo biometrics for patient identification at CMC illustrates the negative effect that chart corrections were having at the facility and how this was impacting revenue cycle management. The article states:

“Charting errors usually are caught early, before any treatment begins, but having to move information into the right chart is time consuming and expensive: Community Medical Centers spends about $190,000 a year to research and correct mismatched charts, she said. And that amount doesn’t include the approximately $300,000 a year the hospital system has estimated it loses on accounts that can’t be billed to insurance companies because the patient identification is incorrect.” (Source: http://bit.ly/2qaFJtw)

RightPatient helps establish accurate patient identification to ensure proper billing at CMC with the potential to drastically reduce chart corrections and increase CMC’s revenue collections. This is often an overlooked benefit of implementing biometrics for patient ID in healthcare.

Take a look at the video covering the deployment of RightPatient at CMC here:

Are you seeking to improve patient safety, reduce the time and money spent reconciling chart corrections, and increase revenue? RightPatient may be the answer. Contact us today for a free demo and let us help direct you on the path of accurate patient ID so you can realize the benefits of other healthcare organizations using photo biometrics.
RightPatient uses photo biometrics to accurately identify patients at any point along the care continuum

Visit RightPatient® at 2017 HIMSS Conference in the GA HealthIT Pavilion (Booth #3015)

RightPatient uses photo biometrics to accurately identify patients at any point along the care continuum

Visit us in the GA HealthIT Pavilion (Booth #3015) at the 2017 HIMSS Convention to learn more about how to completely transform how you identify patients.

Join RightPatient in the GA HealthIT Pavilion in Booth #3015 at the 2017 HIMSS convention to learn more about the value of implementing cognitive vision to your technology ecosystem to completely transform how you identify patients. RightPatient® accurately recognizes patients at the hospital and when they login to a portal, or anywhere along the care continuum through any off the shelf device.

The RightPatient Cloud Platform solves the patient identification challenge by using the photo and unique biometric information of patients to accurately identify them during each encounter in both physical and virtual environments. Stop by booth #3015 at the 2017 HIMSS Convention in Orlando to learn more about:

— Why photo biometrics is the ideal technology and future of patient identification in healthcare
— How RightPatient® seamlessly integrates with all major EHR systems including Cerner®, Epic, Meditech, and McKesson
— The importance of implementing non-contact, hygienic biometric patient ID solutions
— Our affordable SaaS model
— How to improve patient safety and prevent duplicates with photo biometrics for patient identification

As part of the Georgia, USA Pavilion (Booth #3015) HIMSS17 Speaker Series, our President and Co-Founder Michael Trader will be presenting a special educational session on “The Rising Significance of Holistic Patient ID in Healthcare” on Tuesday February 21st at 1:30 p.m. Join us for Michael’s perspective on why it is critical to address accurate patient identification at each and every point along the care continuum instead of only the first stop at patient registration. 

Schedule a meeting with us by sending an email to: info@rightpatient.com or call us at 770-821-1729.

Pressed for time but still want to stop by and meet the RightPatient team? Join us for a beverage at the GA HIMSS Chapter reception. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/2knXCWm

We will have a daily drawing at our booth for an Amazon Echo for those who schedule an appointment!

(If you aren’t attending HIMSS 2017 but would still like to learn more about RightPatient® and see a demo, please contact us!)

Hope to see you in Orlando the week of February 19th!

RightPatient receives an award for innovation

RightPatient® Named Top 40 Innovative Company by Technology Association of Georgia

RightPatient receives an award for innovation

RightPatient® was named a Top 40 Innovative Technology Company by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

We are delighted to report that RightPatient® was named one of the Top 40 Innovative Technology Company by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). TAG’s Top 40 awards recognize Geogria-based companies for not only their innovation, but also their financial impact and efforts at spreading awareness of Georgia’s technology initiatives throughout the U.S. and globally. The best of the best in Georgia’s technology community, this award is an important benchmark of our innovative and creative technology development to address some of the core patient identification, patient engagement, personalized healthcare, and healthcare intelligence platform needs of the healthcare industry and to reduce costs and liability, improve quality of care, monitor population health, and enhance the patient experience. A link to the news release announcing the award can be found here

We are inching closer to the release of our healthcare informatics platform that unifies big data and clinical knowledge in healthcare in an unprecedented way to drive personalized health, decision support, and predictive analytics. Built as a global healthcare ecosystem, this smart health platform aggregates data and uses deep learning and predictive analytics to personalize medicine, reduce readmissions, improve outcomes, and drive comparative effectiveness research.

Thank you to TAG for bestowing this award to us, and congratulations to the entire RightPatient® team for their dedication and hard work on all of our solutions!