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Patient Data Protection Is One of the Topmost Priorities in a Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has changed the fabric of reality for the entire world. While it has spread like wildfire and ravaged the entire world for more than a year, its effects are waning in the U.S. thanks to millions being vaccinated. However, the notorious virus has impacted virtually everything, and arguably, it affected healthcare the most. Not only did it make hospitals overflow with patients, but it also led to new challenges for hospitals – keeping hospitals clean, reducing hospital-acquired infections, and preventing compromised patient information. While we’ve focused on infection control in hospitals a number of times, let’s take a look at how COVID-19 impacted patient data, why hackers are after it, and how patient data protection can be ensured.

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Patient data protection took a backseat during the pandemic 

The U.S. healthcare system has always had several issues that restricted it from reaching its full potential – one of which is inadequate patient data protection. COVID-19, unfortunately, made it worse and introduced brand new challenges for hospitals and health systems – let’s see how. 

COVID-19 forced entire sectors of the population to work from their homes and stop commuting. As a result, organizations had to adopt remote working policies in order to survive. While frontline healthcare workers didn’t have the luxury to work from their homes, many healthcare workers were able to work remotely. Many of these employees handled patient information, and as they worked from home, they used various devices to access, transmit, receive, and work on sensitive patient information.

The problem here is that prior to the pandemic, such patient information was only accessible using devices, networks, and tools authorized by the organization – ensuring an adequate level of patient data protection. However, to ensure hospitals and clinics could continue operating, many rules were relaxed by organizations – some of which are these stringent device policies.

As a result, patient data security was substantially compromised by sizable healthcare providers. Even without the relaxed rules, it would have been a nightmare to track who accessed the information using their personal devices – there are just too many complications involved.

How secure is patient data currently? 

However, several hospitals have opened their doors to patients, for in-person visits, and more. But even in those hospitals, many healthcare workers are still working remotely, meaning that patient data protection is still at considerable risk due to unsecured networks, personal devices, etc. Moreover, healthcare providers have had their hands full with COVID-19, not to mention that numbers of data breaches have increased significantly – you can just google it and see how many patients are at risk.

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But why are hackers so determined to cause breaches to steal patient information? 

Patient data is heavily targeted by hackers

Well, healthcare providers have many restrictions – one of which is very meager budgets to upgrade their cybersecurity measures. As a result, they are quite vulnerable to breaches. Other than being a relatively easy target, stealing patent information is extremely profitable for hackers – they can sell each record for up to $1000 in the black market! The buyers impersonate the patients and since there’s no effective patient identity verification system present for all healthcare providers, many of these fraudsters get away with it. Many hackers are even holding the data and demanding a ransom to not leak or sell it online.

Healthcare providers are having quite a tough time. Before the pandemic, they had a plethora of issues, during the pandemic, pandemonium reigned. And after the pandemic, rising data breaches are among the existing issues. 

However, if healthcare providers focus on accurate patient identification, they can solve several problems – let’s see how.

Protect patient information with accurate patient identification

Accurately identifying patients solves a number of issues. For starters, patient misidentification itself is a huge but overlooked issue – caregivers rally each year for a patient identifier. Accurate patient identification prevents duplicate medical records right from the start, prevents claim denials, ensures that the right patient is receiving the treatment, enhances healthcare outcomes, and improves patient safety too. All of these lead to improved goodwill, lower patient safety incidents, and better bottom lines. RightPatient is the leading touchless biometric patient identification system that checks all the boxes above and has even more benefits , but how does it protect patient data? 

Well, RightPatient uses a database of patients’ faces to validate their identities. When fraudsters attempt to impersonate the patients, even if the data is breached, RightPatient detects the difference between the live photo and the one saved during registration. It easily red-flags the fraudsters, prevents medical identity theft in real-time, and protects patient data in the process. 

RightPatient has been proudly protecting millions of patient records in several healthcare facilities for years – are you protecting your patients’ information and ensuring their safety?

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The Importance of EHR Optimization and 3 Strategies for Improvement

EHRs and EMRs are used interchangeably and they more or less serve the same function. In a nutshell, EHRs are a crucial part of the U.S. healthcare system and contain virtually all the information physicians and caregivers need to know about the patients. EHRs are required to ensure that the patients are receiving proper treatment plans, healthcare services, and so on. However, using EHRs is not enough – understanding them properly and ensuring EHR optimization is crucial as well, and the latter is something that many care providers miss out on.

That being said, let’s take a look at the importance of optimizing EHRs, how it benefits caregivers, and some strategies that help with optimization. 

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Importance of EHR optimization

Before diving deep into its optimization, let’s do a quick overview of EHRs. 

EHRs are the commonly used abbreviation for electronic health records and may contain a vast amount of health information such as patient names, billing information, progress notes, vitals, medical histories, medications, and treatment plans, lab test results, and much, much more. It is obvious that EHRs are extremely important and have a huge part to play in healthcare outcomes, billing, treatment workflow, etc. As a result, EHR optimization becomes even more important if caregivers want improvements in healthcare outcomes, fewer errors in medical billing, and so on. 

Unfortunately, many caregivers don’t keep up with EHR optimization, which leads to piling up issues and errors, unintuitive interface(s), duplicate medical records, and overlays, which cause patient mix-ups. All of this leads to patient safety incidents, preventable medical errors, billing and coding errors, or denied claims – impacting the ROI.

Just implementing an EHR system is not enough – providing ample training, customizing it to the hospital’s needs, ensuring proper governance, and using innovative solutions to bolster EHRs are crucial components to make it work. 

That being said, let’s take a look at some strategies that help with EHR optimization and ensure higher ROI, better bottom lines, reduced clinician burnout, fewer medical errors, and improved patient outcomes.

Strategies that bolster EHR optimization

Keeping EHRs accurately updated 

Ensuring that EHRs are updated at all times and are free of errors is a must. There are many cases where EHRs aren’t maintained accurately, leading to duplicate medical records or overlays. Not only do these issues with EHRs lead to wrong patient identification, but they also lead to patient safety incidents, denied claims, and might even cause deaths. One way to prevent these issues is by identifying patients accurately at all touchpoints, maintaining patient data integrity in the process. 

Receiving and incorporating feedback

One crucial fact that is overlooked by most caregivers is that feedback can lead to a host of improvements and optimization. Being open to feedback, receiving it, and incorporating it from the actual EHR users can drastically improve EHR usability. Physicians, clinicians, and registrars, among others, are the ones who use EHRs, and caregivers who are open to feedback from them can significantly improve their EHR systems by implementing required changes that optimize the workflow. Unfortunately, only around 34% of physicians are asked for feedback regarding the matter.

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Using solutions that bolster EHR systems and seamlessly integrate with them

EHRs bring a host of benefits to their users, provided that they are used appropriately and with the right solutions. Even EHR systems require support but that’s due to external factors. For instance, the lack of positive patient identification is still felt across the U.S. healthcare system because there’s still no standardized effective national patient identifier present. If truth be told, there might not be one in the near future – the project has been pending for around twenty years! 

However, there are solutions that seamlessly integrate with EHR systems and become part of the EHR workflow, one of the leading ones is RightPatient. 

As a touchless patient identification platform, RightPatient has been helping leading healthcare providers by identifying patients accurately in a safe and hygienic manner. Within hospitals, registered patients only need to look at the camera, and once RightPatient finds a match, it provides the EHR user with the accurate medical record.

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Protecting Patient Data Is Crucial – 2.7 Million Patients Were Affected this May

Even before the pandemic, protecting patient data has been a big headache for most healthcare providers. This is mostly because cybersecurity measures employed by most hospitals are not state of the art, which means hackers constantly attempt to break in and steal patient data, many cases ended up in lawsuits, and cost hospitals a lot of money as well as cause patient safety issues down the line. However, during the pandemic, there have been cases of data breaches, and just last month (May), around 2.7 million people were affected by them collectively. Let’s take a look at how some of these happened, how most of these cases lead to medical identity theft, and how the latter can be stopped in real-time with a positive patient identification platform.

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Some very recent data breach cases that show protecting patient data is crucial

While ransomware has been a major component of data breaches in recent times, phishing and other tactics are also used and are still some of the primary tools employed by hackers during breaches. Let’s take a look at some of the recent cases that have been filed in May – you can view the full list here.

HPSJ’s email breach affected over 420,000 medical records

Health Plan of San Joaquin suffered a breach that occurred because unauthorized personnel had gained access to the provider’s email system. This occurred back in 2020 and, after inspection, it was discovered that this affected a number of official emails. While password reset was mandated on the accounts, it might have been too late, and it was found that this happened between the end of September and the middle of October last year. Moreover, after a thorough review, it was detected that over 420,000 patients’ information was compromised, and it included names, addresses, SSNs, and more. While it has been said that there has been no misuse of the information yet, HPSJ itself is being cautious since it knows that the breached information might be used in the future for medical identity theft. 

Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute suffered a breach that compromised 50,000 patients

This one is a bit vague since there is no concrete information as to how it happened. However, the Arizona-based institution has stated that PHI (protected health information) of up to 50,000 individuals was “temporarily exposed online” under the name of a different organization back in September 2020. 

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It took till March 8 2021 to uncover that sensitive information was compromised including – last names, healthcare provider names, health insurance information, and patient identification numbers.

Just like the last case, there is no hard evidence that the compromised information has been misused – yet. However, the institute has notified affected patients to monitor their statements for fraudulent activities arising from medical identity theft. 

These were just two examples – around 35 hospitals and healthcare organizations such as Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute, CareSouth Carolina, New England Dermatology, and more, were hit by similar breaches, affecting around 2.7 million individuals! This clearly shows how many people data breaches can affect and how they are becoming increasingly common and inevitable. But why are hackers focused on data breaches and why do they target healthcare? 

Data breaches – why target healthcare and what happens next

Well, hackers typically steal information in order to sell it in the black market, and in the U.S. the most profitable information is medical records. You see, stolen patient information can be sold for up to $1000. Compared to selling stolen credit card information, that’s a lot, which is why more hackers focus on healthcare. Moreover, healthcare providers have a lot of constraints which prevent them from utilizing the best cybersecurity practices, leading to data breaches. 

After the breach, when the hackers try to sell off the information on the black market, there are many individuals who are willing to buy it. Since buying the information for $1000 is cheaper than paying for their own healthcare, many fraudsters find this feasible. Afterward, they pose as the patients when they go to the hospitals. Unfortunately, as these fraudsters are armed with the information and since there’s no accurate patient identifier used by the caregivers, most of these bad actors get access and avail healthcare services fraudulently. 

Protecting patient data is possible even after a breach 

While most healthcare providers focus on protecting patient data before data breaches, others utilize innovative solutions to protect it after breaches too. Most of the fraudsters can be red-flagged and medical identity theft can be prevented if a proper patient identification platform is used, and that’s exactly what RightPatient does. 

Whenever fraudsters come in, they need to verify their identity, and RightPatient validates that by comparing the live photo with the saved one. When it detects that the fraudster’s face does not match with the saved one, it red-flags them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

RightPatient prevents medical identity theft, reduces denied claims, ensures accurate patient identification, enhances patient safety, and more – would your facility benefit from this solution to protect patient information and prevent millions in losses?

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4 Innovative Ideas that can Bolster Transformation in Healthcare

It’s quite safe to say that healthcare has undergone radical changes since the pandemic struck with full force. While COVID-19 has had unprecedented effects on everyone and everything, it affected hospitals drastically and forced them to come up with alternatives that have led to transformation in healthcare, for instance, telehealth. While the pandemic is hopefully behind us as we return to the “old normal”, let’s take a look at some ideas that healthcare executives believe will transform healthcare and some technologies that already exist such as contactless patient identity verification solutions.

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4 ideas that bolster transformation in healthcare

Patient engagement and patient monitoring going full digital

While we have been hearing about remote patient monitoring and digital patient engagement for quite some time now, the CIO at Cherokee Nation Health Services believes that adopting said solutions into healthcare will vastly improve healthcare outcomes as patients will be more engaged regarding their health and wellness by putting the power in their hands. Not only do such solutions improve patient outcomes but they also allow both caregivers and patients to engage with each other in a more proactive manner beyond the healthcare facilities’ walls by means of text messaging, digital platforms, and chatbots, leading to a digital door, per se.

Introducing meaningful technology in relevant department(s)

The future of healthcare is digital, there is no doubt about that. Healthcare providers that are still using ancient methods and obsolete technology are beginning to feel the heat as the disadvantages keep on piling up. However, innovative hospitals and health systems are going the other way – they are overhauling their processes by implementing technology in almost all of their departments. For instance, while many are using RCM solutions, others are introducing technology in their HR department, inpatient services, nursing department, and so on. While it might not directly generate transformation in healthcare, implementing useful and relevant technology in various departments can bring in better talent, optimize operations, and improve healthcare outcomes – boosting the bottom line. 

Making telehealth a permanent part of the facility

While telehealth has been around for a long time and has not seen success until recently (in response to COVID-19), many caregivers are still quite wary about it. However, even the most skeptical ones cannot deny that it has introduced significant transformation in healthcare. For instance, patients can communicate with their caregivers from the safety and comfort of their houses and reduce significant risks and expenses, among other things. Caregivers can also divert non-critical patients towards virtual visits, reducing the pressure on physical locations and staff and keeping the physical patient volume low, something that is a must to keep COVID-19 at bay. 

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While telehealth can never replace conventional healthcare or in-person visits, it has definitely become an extremely useful tool of healthcare itself, something that caregivers must utilize to its full extent. It can save costs, improve patient satisfaction, enhance outcomes, and keep COVID-19 at bay – creating a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

Implement contactless technologies can truly introduce transformation in healthcare

Speaking of COVID-19, it has spread the fear of getting infected via physical contact to virtually everyone. This is quite surprising, as healthcare providers have always had this fear of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Hospitals that take patient safety seriously have always focused on infection control, and these are the ones that are always looking for contactless solutions. 

While COVID-19 has pushed infection control into overdrive, many recent innovations in this area include touchless IoT-based systems, patient check-ins, payments, and so on. However, did you know that touchless solutions were already being used in several hospitals across the U.S.?

That’s right – RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification system that responsible and innovative healthcare providers have been using for many years. Since it attaches patients’ photos to their medical records, patients only need to look at the camera to validate their identities. It can also be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it ideal for telehealth. RightPatient has been ensuring patient safety, hygiene, reducing denied claims, preventing medical identity theft, and much more via accurate patient identification.

Are you one of the providers who’s looking to introduce transformation in healthcare to your facility?

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Improving Healthcare Outcomes with 4 Strategies

COVID-19 has the U.S. healthcare system sweating through probably the most volatile phase in its history. Hospitals are opening up their doors and gradually receiving patients as things are getting much better with the distribution of vaccines. However, the danger of underlying issues that have plagued the healthcare system for decades still remains. Despite these problems, the burden of hospitals providing immaculate healthcare services is still there. That being said, here are some of the practices that can help hospitals with improving healthcare outcomes and reducing their issues.

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Improving healthcare outcomes is a major priority currently

Administering proper care at the proper time and the avoidance of patient safety incidents is a major objective of hospitals. Thus, hospitals are under pressure to implement relevant strategies and solutions that will enhance their effectiveness. This includes partnering with other care providers to protect patient data integrity. While implementing some of these strategies can be pretty expensive, they do help with improving healthcare outcomes – here are some of the most important ones:

Ensuring efficient collaboration with the patients’ care providers

The right kind of collaboration is important in healthcare nowadays and CMS has established new conditions that require caregivers to work together. It has upped the ante on the degree of seriousness of it all.

So, what is the correlation between collaboration and patient outcomes? How does it work to improve healthcare outcomes?

Before terms such as interoperability and collaboration existed, people often were loyal to a single healthcare facility. This has changed, especially with data sharing, EHRs, and interoperability – patients are now free to visit multiple caregivers for treatments to their various conditions and ailments. There might be an interrelation between patients’ conditions and this provides ground for caregivers to associate to ensure that they obtain all the necessary data and up-to-date information that will enable them to make the best decisions with regards to handling the patient and thus improving healthcare outcomes.

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A hospital that is open to collaboration and the implementation of required strategies and relevant solutions will go a long way in helping to improve patient outcomes. The CMS requirements mandate that caregivers support sending and receiving electronic notifications during ADT events that provide updated information about a patient’s condition. RightPatient is a useful tool that caregivers can use to ensure the proper identification of patients and prevent false alerts – more on that later.

Ensuring patient data integrity

The integrity of patient data is often overlooked when it comes to its effects on healthcare outcomes but it is crucial nonetheless. Inadequate positive patient identification can ultimately affect the integrity of patient data. This occurs when a patient is treated with the medical record of another patient or the data gets corrupted in the EHR as the wrong information gets saved in it. When the actual patient comes in for treatment, he gets the wrong administration due to inaccurate information. Thus, medical errors arise, leading to incorrect treatment plans, wrong medication, and more, which lead to negative healthcare outcomes.

Impersonation by a fraudster can also lead to the compromise of patient data integrity – it occurs during medical identity theft. This case is similar to patient misidentification, the only difference might just be that the impersonator does it deliberately. The fraudster receiving the treatment then gets his/her information added into the victim’s EHR thus corrupting patient data. If this passes on undetected, the victim could end up undergoing the wrong treatment procedure.

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Therefore, a patient’s data has to be protected against tampering to further improve the healthcare outcome of the patients due to the reception of the proper treatment on schedule. 

Avoiding preventable medical errors

The focus has also shifted to limiting the occurrence of otherwise avoidable medical errors. The statistics behind such errors are quite alarming. These are common as a result of technical errors, medication errors, medical record mix-ups, wrong information, and so on. Poor patient identification is also responsible for most of the preventable medical errors. Thus, if patients can be accurately identified, then it will significantly improve patient outcomes. 

Preventing patient misidentification

The common problem in all the scenarios above is patient identification errors. It causes a huge problem for hospitals and health systems in general as discussed earlier. With patient misidentification, patient safety can be jeopardized with false alerts rampant during collaboration with other caregivers, sharing corrupted patient information, and the consequence is medical error. The bottom line is that misidentification can affect healthcare outcomes and it can even lead to the death of patients. 

Fortunately, accurate patient identification with RightPatient can help improve healthcare outcomes. 

RightPatient has been helping improve patient safety

RightPatient, with its touchless biometric patient identification platform, has become the top choice for several healthcare providers. It has helped them to enhance patient safety, improve patient healthcare outcomes, and reduce the occurrence of medical errors. The benefits are numerous for both patients and caregivers and this includes safety – it is contactless and perfect for use in a post-pandemic world.

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Hospitals Might Lose $122B – Can a Robust Patient Identification System Help?

Healthcare providers in every nook and cranny of the world have had their hands full with COVID-19 dealing damage everywhere. The US was not left out as its healthcare system could not cope with the unexpected events that persisted when the virus hit hard. The loss incurred in 2020 was massive for healthcare providers and difficult decisions had to be made. Unfortunately, the year 2021 doesn’t look like much of an improvement. The Kauffman Hall report suggested that healthcare providers could end up losing as much as $122 billion in 2021 in the worst-case scenario. On the less pessimistic side, they will lose up to $53 billion, which is still a significant amount. That being said, we need to look in-depth at how the impact could be reduced significantly and how the administration of an effective patient identification system can reduce significant losses.

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Loss is inevitable for most healthcare providers in 2021

The major difference between 2020 and 2021 is that now people are getting treated with vaccines against the devastation that was the theme of the previous year. Most hospitals have opened up and there is a gradual decrease in the amount of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals will, however, have to settle for a loss of about 10%, which is still considered a pretty serious loss by experts.

Patient identification errors are still plaguing health systems and, even before the pandemic, there had been huge losses for caregivers. But not all of them were suffering from the losses.

NYU Langone Health, Baylor Scott & White Health, the Mayo Clinic, and some others are just some of the large hospitals that benefited from a bout of federal healthcare bailout grants. Baylor Scott & White, in particular, earned profits in 2020. Many others didn’t come off with such luck as they had to shut their doors permanently, lay off most of their workers, introduce pay cuts, and furlough employees. The losses have further extended into 2021 and it could persist into 2022. The focus must. however. be shifted to existing problems – ensuring positive patient identification is one of them.

How an effective patient identification system helps reduce losses

The major strategy which healthcare providers are using to mitigate losses is by cutting expenses. Reducing the workforce shouldn’t be a priority as they could focus on solving problems associated with patient safety problems, medical records mix-up, duplicate medical records, patient outcomes, denied claims, preventable medical errors – the list goes on. The cord that connects them all is patient identification errors. 

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Poor identification of patients will cause hospitals to administer wrong treatments that often result in patient safety incidents, harmful patient outcomes, readmissions, etc. There is a consequential ripple effect of patient misidentification on hospitals and patients alike. These effects can be too heavy and costly on either side. Preventable medical errors, denied claims, litigation costs, and fixing duplicate medical records can lead to massive losses for any healthcare provider. An effective patient identification system must be adopted by hospitals – RightPatient is the best fit for the task.

RightPatient is the leading patient identification system

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that solves the problems plaguing healthcare providers and patients nowadays. It is just what we all need in this post-pandemic era. It is easy to use and hygienic for both caregivers and patients due to its touchless nature. RightPatient can help to prevent losses in millions by preventing patient misidentification, medical identity theft, denied claims, duplicate medical errors, etc. It is a must-have for responsible healthcare providers to reduce losses and enhance positive patient outcomes.

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Current Challenges in Clinical Research that Hamper Trials

Clinical trials have existed for a long time but they became even more important when COVID-19 raged. Traditionally, all vaccines, medical devices, and beneficial drugs designed for specific diseases are created by carrying out intensive tests to ascertain their safety and viability in treating the disease through clinical trials. The process of a clinical trial can be excruciatingly long and laborious with several factors that could deter its progress and success. We will discuss the notable challenges common to clinical research, how it affects the process and the results of clinical trials, how sponsors and Principal Investigators (PIs) leave crucial issues out unsorted, and how to best take advantage of patient identity verification.

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Preventing professional patients is possible with RightPatient.

Current challenges in clinical research 

Arduous, dangerous, time-intensive, and complex are the words that can fully capture the nature of the process that surrounds clinical trials. The trial is supervised by Sponsors and PIs to ensure that there are no violations of the rules and regulations to the letter such as the enrollment of the right amount of patients that fit the required conditions for the trials. They are also tasked with the stringent management of several trial sites. Here are some of the challenges that oppose the success of clinical trials.

Patient recruitment can pose a huge challenge

The most recurrent aspect in the list of current challenges in clinical research that often occurs right from the conception of the idea of a clinical trial is the issue of patient recruitment. Some of the problems, in this case, include the unresponsiveness of patients, the attraction of patients with conditions that do not fit the subject of the test, or poorly performing research sites. These could end the clinical trial before it even starts. If we are to delve into the lengthy list of the challenges of patient recruitment, it would take an entirely different article of its own.

The focus here is that there can be no clinical trial if test subjects are not available or they do not fit the criteria for the trial. The problems that may arise from the trials may result from the fact that research data was not enough to affirm the drug/vaccine’s effectiveness. Irrespective of the promising nature of the agent, the drug may fail to progress to the subsequent phases necessary for approval for general use.

Designing trials that ensure success

The process of designing a successful clinical trial is also one of the top challenges because it has to satisfy everyone. At the start, it was not so complex, all rules and regulations were often in their infancy, and things were always pretty easy.

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Current challenges in clinical trials – RightPatient addresses the overlooked one.

Modern clinical trials, however, have taken on a new shape of complexity with rules that must be adhered to from top to bottom. It must be simple for patients to understand and obey, it must proffer answers to rather difficult questions in the right way, and ultimately, it must satisfy the necessary stakeholders. Meeting expectations in a trial design is not easy. This makes it one of the most consistent of the current challenges in clinical research.

Ensuring and maintaining compliance with the rules and regulations

The healthcare industry is a highly monitored sector because of the gravity of the healthcare outcomes of patients in the system. The subsequent products of clinical trials such as drugs, vaccines, treatment processes, and medical devices represent outcomes, they are also subject to heavy regulations.

The existence and importance of the regulations are relateable but it also makes for a herculean task in strict compliance. The slightest discrepancy could hinder the trial and lead to a huge financial loss running up to millions. Maintaining and ensuring compliance remains a great challenge with unlimited imposed regulations.

Preventing professional patients

Professional patients is not a commonly discussed term whenever issues related to current challenges in clinical research are raised. Nonetheless, it is also a crucial issue. It goes by different terms like “professional study subjects” and “duplicate study subjects”, and they are individuals who are capable of thwarting the credibility of clinical trials. They are culpable for participating in multiple trials simultaneously or consecutively, thereby influencing ruining the overall results of the trials that follow.

A relevant illustration is that of a duplicate study subject that has been diagnosed with a heart condition and has participated in a trial and received dosages of an experimental drug. The subject then goes almost immediately to partake in another trial. The problem lies in the fact that the initial drug is still in their system and it will project wrongly on the second trial. There is also the danger attached to going to multiple trials as it will not only skew the results of the trials but will also be harmful to them.

These types of patients affect the integrity of clinical trials while also presenting a danger to their health. In addition, they could lead to losses worth millions and can lead to experimental agents being deemed as failures because of skewed results. Fortunately, RightPatient can prevent

If you are looking for the right tool to help in dealing with professional patients in clinical trials, you can count on RightPatient. It is a trusted touchless patient identification platform that has earned great reviews from top healthcare providers. It has ample capabilities and experience that could put an end to issues of professional patients effectively. The platform could help to save millions worth of losses, and mitigate delays in approvals, and enhancing the integrity of trials. RightPatient is the perfect way to prevent professional study subjects in clinical trials.

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How Professional Patients are One of the Crucial Challenges of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have been around for years. They’re often a way of testing new treatments on people who are already requiring treatment for something. For those with terminal diagnoses, they may prolong life or improve the quality of their remaining time. Chronic conditions may be alleviated, and treatment once considered experimental and new may become mainstream after a successful clinical trial. They might allow the development of new drugs or instead, look at prevention or better diagnosis of disease. Clinical trials can help establish whether screening, imaging, or testing can assist early diagnosis or investigate how best to support those people diagnosed with a particular disease. However, all of these can be damaged by the challenges of clinical trials, and one of the overlooked ones is professional study subjects – let’s see how.

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Clinical trials attract different types of individuals

For some, a clinical trial can simply be a way of getting a free treatment or being paid for the time the trial takes. Some patients will use any underhand means at their disposal to ensure their place on these trials, as for them, they are lucrative little earners. So many people are living with multiple illnesses that simply paying for all the medications can get expensive. Any chance that they find to try something for free is a lucky break for their finances. Then, many individuals are more altruistic. They simply want the chance to take part in something which might potentially change the course of treatment for other patients, some of whom may be their loved ones.

So, it was with the trials of the COVID-19 vaccines. The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel; a chance to gain a measure of protection against this virulent disease. Some people, however, were purely in the trials for their own ends. They wanted the vaccine first, both doses, and they would stop at nothing to get it – the majority of the trials face these types of individuals.

So how could these professional study subjects play the system like this and become one of the overlooked challenges of clinical trials? Lax patient identification is not the only answer, it’s far more complicated than that. 

  • One way these professional study subjects game the system is to ignore the terms and conditions of the trial. They maintain they meet the criteria, when in fact they have an underlying condition that would automatically exclude them from taking part. Or they choose not to disclose that they are already participating in another trial when the rules of the second trial they are applying for clearly state that it must be the only trial they are enrolled in at any time.
  • Earning money may not be the sole motivator for everyone. Some people like to take advantage of freebies to save money on their medical bills. Others could have more nefarious reasons, like acquiring the drugs for recreational purposes. There is also a group of professional patients who hope the medicine or treatment being trialed will stop or slow down their disease, even if that’s not the prime reason for the trial. These patients are more likely to travel long distances to ensure they are in the group testing the new treatment, rather than receiving a placebo. They may also enroll in multiple sites under different identities. This has the potential to skew the results of the trial, which could affect the chances of a treatment being brought to the market.

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  • Assuming a false identity is the way many of these professional patients get around the rules on participating in clinical trials. If they look alike, they could masquerade as their sibling, or simply purchase a forged identity online for a fraction of the money they stand to earn from the trial. For those who know where to look, fake documents are available for $50 to $100, and the earnings from a trial could run into thousands of dollars for each participant.
  • These professional patients are willing to game the system in any way possible. Even falsifying participation is not unknown – saying they took the drugs when they haven’t. That means they won’t show any effects, although they will still be treated as a trial member. If enough people on one trial game the system in various ways, the results could be irretrievably altered, and the rollout could be delayed or halted, no matter how promising the previous work had looked.

RightPatient prevents professional patients

Using a touchless biometric patient identification platform like RightPatient can prevent one of the overlooked but crucial challenges of clinical trials. It can detect blacklisted participants who try to use the trial to their own ends – eliminating professional patients in clinical trials. This increases the integrity of the trial and ultimately improves results. Because it allows accurate recording of someone’s participation in the trial, it prevents fraud, wasted effort, and delayed approvals – saving millions in the process and preventing trials from being shut down.

Clinical trials can benefit from using the RightPatient platform to correctly identify their trial participants. The trials will have accurate data, and the patients’ records will be correctly updated with their participation and the outcome.

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5 Strategies That Can Rebuild Revenue Cycle for Healthcare Facilities

As the pandemic wanes, at least for now, many businesses are rebuilding. The US healthcare sector is no exception, picking itself up and dusting itself down gingerly, preparing to welcome back patients and see an uptick in revenue again. Working on the revenue cycle for healthcare providers has never been more important.

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For some hospitals and departments, it’s already too late – the pandemic forced them to close. Others are hanging on, with staff returning from furlough and machinery being switched on and recalibrated for the first time in over a year. As more people are fully vaccinated, it becomes simpler to see patients in person again, which will lead to the increase in revenue the healthcare sector badly needs. However, it’s not all plain sailing. Providers could still lose over $120 billion this year, so it is vital to be careful with any attempts to ramp up income. The fewer denied claims there are, the better the bottom line will be. That being said, let’s take a look at some strategies that will help optimize the revenue cycle for healthcare providers.

5 strategies to enhance revenue cycle for healthcare providers

Check the existing revenue cycle management processes

The first option is to see whether any immediate improvements can be made to the existing system. This will be down to the back-end developers and IT specialists and will not be visible to patients. After that, it’s time to look at the patient-facing part of the cycle. Ensuring staff members are fully trained in customer service is a good place to start with optimizing revenue cycle management. That way, they will know what questions to ask when registering or checking in patients and how to check their insurance, treatment codes, and eligibility. They will know how long to allocate for different types of appointments and when to ask for immediate payment.

Use technology to your advantage

The easiest way to ensure that everything runs smoothly is by identifying patients accurately right from the start of the treatment process. This could be done using a patient identity verification platform such as RightPatient that eliminates the need for asking patients questions, patient record mix-ups, and more, reducing denied claims in the process.

That was just one example – optimizing the revenue cycle for healthcare providers is not difficult, it just needs a bit of help at times. Technology can be that hidden assistance.

Prompt, correct coding, and billing is key

An organization should not expect prompt payment if its internal processes are lax. Ensuring accurate coding and billing leads to lower chances of denied claims. Complete elimination of denied claims is impossible, because of some uncontrollable factors, but rigorous checking of coding will, in turn, generate accurate bills which are more likely to be agreed on the first time by the insurers.

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Utilize up-front collection

If possible, the up-front collection is the best way to optimize the revenue cycle for healthcare providers. This eliminates an entire step in the revenue collection process, as the bill does not need to be seen by accounts receivable at all. Instead, it lands on the collected revenue team’s side for processing. While this approach will not work for every patient, it can be an effective tool for immediate revenue generation.

Accurate patient identification underpins everything

Well-trained staff members are likely to know exactly how to identify a patient and take payment politely using a fast processing system, but the whole thing falls if the patient’s identity is incorrect on the system, or if changed details are input wrongly. Denied claims are annoying and time-consuming to rectify. There are ways in which technology can help minimize the chances of this happening, however. 

Getting the patient’s identity and billing details correct from the first interaction with them makes things so much smoother. It prevents duplicate medical records and overlays, for a start. If a patient only has one EHR, there is little to no chance that the insurer will find fault with the claim and so will settle the amount faster. Denied claims cost millions of dollars for every provider, often due to poor electronic health records and a lack of robust identity checks. Incorrect patient identification puts the patients at risk too.

One of the most innovative ways of ensuring accurate patient identification from the get-go is by using RightPatient. This touchless biometric patient identification platform is being used by several healthcare providers and has several benefits. It allows patients to identify themselves even in virtual consultations and during in-person visits, all they need to do is look at the camera, meaning that they don’t have to run the risk of others overhearing sensitive personal data when checking into a clinic. Nor do they have to use touchscreens or keypads to enter information – making it hygienic and safer than ever.

RightPatient is the solution that ensures accurate patient identification, reduces denied claims, duplicate medical records, and ensures fast billing.

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Improving Revenue Cycle in Healthcare Facilities in a Post-Pandemic World

The pandemic hasn’t only been difficult for the healthcare sector in terms of the number of patients treated and the severity of symptoms. For the American healthcare system, it meant a huge loss of revenue for everyday treatments, as every available resource pivoted to caring for the patients affected by COVID. Those facilities that couldn’t pivot were left with no option but to close and file for bankruptcy as their income was hit. Some managed to survive by furloughing their staff or redeploying them to care for the large number of seriously ill patients which COVID produced. As a result, revenue cycle in healthcare facilities took a huge hit.

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Some organizations, though, were luckier than others and were able to deploy remote triaging and virtual consultations by phone and video using the latest videoconferencing software – all of which can be bolstered by utilizing a touchless biometric patient identification platform such as RightPatient. This allowed them to continue to treat patients, and earn income, which softened the blow to their finances and helped both patients – who suffered no break in treatment – and staff – who were retained rather than furloughed.

Revenue cycle in healthcare facilities during the pandemic tanked, to put it mildly. Normal service dropped off a cliff and around three-quarters of healthcare providers had to put revenue cycle management in place, as well as ensuring employees could practice remotely and maintain effective social distancing when they did have to attend their workplace.

The return has started, remotely

Now that treatment cycles are returning to pre-pandemic levels in many places, the staff members are also returning to their usual roles. They are returning to treating their regular patients and making sure of their incoming revenue whilst minimizing the losses their facility may have suffered.

In order to optimize their abilities, staff members have learned how to use technology to help them assist patients remotely during the pandemic. This approach is likely to remain in place for those patients who are unable for any number of reasons to attend an in-person consultation.

One of the most popular ways to use tech in medicine is by organizing a remote consultation, by telephone or video call. This helps staff to find out quickly what ails their patient and can help them triage the patient more effectively, immediately. They can tell the caller at once whether they need to attend, offer an appointment if so and have all the notes from the call available when the patient comes in. If a referral is needed, the process can be started straight after the phone call, without waiting for an appointment or paperwork.

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Of course, processes still need to be followed. Not only does that enhance patient safety, but it also embeds the familiar for both patient and healthcare employee. Sorting out the paperwork before the patient arrives is of prime importance, and means everyone will know what is going to happen and what they can expect to be billed or paid for. Staff should check whether there is an authorization for the service under the patient’s insurance and what the patient’s responsibility is regarding this. Ensuring everyone is aware of charges and can reconcile them quickly is better for the provider’s income levels too. Being organized allows accurate expenditure planning, which helps everyone balance incoming revenue against outgoing expected payments.

Communication is key for improving revenue cycle in healthcare

Face-to-face, by email, text, shared app, or phone: no matter how teams communicate, it is best that they do. Patients with comorbidities or multiple conditions need dovetailed treatment, a patient pathway across several providers, and it is best to schedule appointments logically. Scheduling several simple appointments across nearby providers in one day is a possibility to reduce travel headaches for the patient, although it may make it an expensive time when the bills come due. That also relies on the finance and revenue cycle team knowing that they are to bill a particular insurance company for a defined treatment to a named patient on a given date. Communication makes all of these processes simpler and can help provide the necessary paper or electronic trails to ensure timely billing, and therefore prompt payment. The notification to finance should come from the clinical team, as they are treating the patient. They also know exactly which procedure was undertaken and how, so are best placed to ensure the billing is correct. 

An efficient billing cycle is one way to ensure reliable income, as everyone knows what is due to be paid, by whom, and when. It’s not just the medics and revenue billing team who have a part to play here either. Every healthcare professional who attends to the patient has a responsibility to produce documentation for their part in the patient’s care – all of this works towards optimizing revenue cycle management in healthcare facilities.

Technology can enhance revenue cycle in healthcare facilities

Accurate billing is essential when attempting to collect revenue. Billing the wrong patient, or a different insurance company, can delay payment and cause extra effort and paperwork for no gain. Correct patient identification at the start of the treatment cycle makes billing much simpler. A biometric touchless platform such as RightPatient can help eliminate patient misidentification and the nearly $5 million of denied claims which result.