Patient-Data-Protection-with-RightPatient

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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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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Proper Patient Identification Mitigates Hospital Losses in Several Ways

Patient safety can easily be achieved by making proper patient identification one of the basic requirements within hospitals. Misidentification of patients creates a host of problems for the care provider, the patients, the insurance companies, to say the least. Medical record mix-ups, preventable medical errors, wrong administration, patient safety issues, or death can be the result of patient misidentification. Repetitive cases of misidentification can spell doom particularly if it is concurrent post-pandemic, caregivers have their hands full to deal with huge losses as a result of coronavirus.

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Subsequently, we will look at the effects of patient misidentification on healthcare providers, the financial losses incurred, and how using RightPatient can be used for proper patient identity management to assist caregivers in overcoming issues that may arise as a consequence.

COVID-19 further compounds the financial loss on healthcare providers 

In 2020, it was thought that hospitals will lose $323 billion due to COVID-19. Things are much better now that we have seen a large portion of the United States’ population get vaccinated but the immense financial pressure on hospitals remains an impediment. About $122 billion is the estimated value of the total possible loss for hospitals and health systems following the lingering effects of the pandemic. Despite the immense efforts invested in vaccination, the losses haven’t abated in 2021 according to experts. The situation is dire and healthcare providers have to cut down on unnecessary costs in a meaningful way.

2020 was a dark year for healthcare providers

In the wake of last year’s events, caregivers had to develop new strategies to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. They were forced to adopt cost-cutting strategies such as furloughing, temporarily closing down departments, closing hospitals, and laying off workers. These strategies aided some hospitals but it was pretty ineffective for others. The focus has to be on fixing existing problems that will ultimately minimize their losses. Proper patient identification is one of the most underrated and lingering problems that are being experienced in many hospitals and health systems. Next, we will be considering how we can reduce losses.

Ways how proper patient identification cuts losses

Accurate patient identification reduces denied claims

Denied claims often result from situations in which the person paying for a service observes discrepancies in the information sent by the caregiver compare to a patient’s actual data. Such claims are denied based on patient misidentification. 

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Possibly, the patient might have been misidentified right from the beginning. The case of patient misidentification does not necessarily mean that the patient was given another patient’s EHR, it could also be a case of duplicated medical details. If such occurs in the EHR system, and the fragmented data are used in treating the patient, the issues that may arise will be critical. Peradventure by a long shot, a miracle happens and no patient safety concern incident occurs, the claims will be flagged off by a statement of the insurance company that it was the wrong medical record. Medical record mixups may mean that a patient receives the wrong bills and these rarely pass through to approval.

It is, thus, important to properly identify a patient from the beginning. An adequately evaluated identification will mean that the same EHR will be used in developing appointment schedules as well as payment collection. It will also be useful in fighting denied claims. The necessary bills will be issued to the patients and the caregiver’s patient revenue cycles will be optimized and losses reduced drastically.

Accurate patient identification improves patient safety

Dangers to patient safety such as wrong treatments, readmissions, wrong surgeries, preventable medical errors depending on the situation can arise from a wrong EHR is used to administer treatment to patients. A patient with diabetes can get treated with a plan for a heart condition as a result of a patient record mix-up. Even the slightest patient safety incident can cost healthcare providers a lot of money, undesirable media attention, and others which can lead to penalties down the road.

Making sure that accurate patient identification often limits the chances of medical record mix-ups, drastically reduces the occurrence of otherwise preventable medical errors, and ensures improvement in healthcare outcomes by making the right patient get the right treatment plan. An averted problem of patient safety concerns saves the hospital a whole lot of trouble and financial implications.

RightPatient ensures proper patient identification

Efficient healthcare providers are finding great use for RightPatient in identifying their patients. Our touchless biometric patient identification platform is easy to use, and it is also ideal in a post-pandemic world as it limits the chances of infection control issues.

The platform has a proven track record of aiding healthcare providers to enhance patient safety, forestalling cases of patient medical record duplication, and diminishing denied claims. The bottom line is ultimately improved upon in the process. Are you ready to use a feasible solution like RightPatient to cut your losses?

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It’s Time to Improve the Patient Experience as In-Person Medical Visits Are Back

Now that lockdown is easing, in-person visits to medical facilities for non-urgent reasons can resume. Masks are being removed, people can come into closer contact than they could previously, and the routines of everyday life are returning. This is where hospitals can put into practice new ways of working which were adopted because of the pandemic and improve the patient experience.

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RightPatient improves the patient experience

More virtual appointments to prevent waiting times and improve punctuality for those patients who do need to be seen in person. Telephone triaging so that the patient is routed to the correct specialist faster. Individual consultations rather than groups which may encourage patients to be more open about their ailment, or group sessions held remotely so patients who work better with a support network can still have that feeling of accountability. All of these, when used appropriately for the individual patient, can improve the patient experience, reduce patient safety incidents, and improve healthcare outcomes.

Virtual consultations may not be for everyone

Of course, a touchless biometric patient identification platform such as RightPatient can improve quality and safety in healthcare where it is used. As hospitals and other healthcare locations move towards dealing with higher numbers of routine patients again, anything which can simplify the process should be welcome. There is a significant backlog of routine procedures which need to be undertaken having been canceled in favor of treating COVID infected patients, so all the staff members are likely to be busy for some time to come. Some workers were furloughed, other facilities had departments closed and remaining staff diverted to caring for acutely ill patients. Now, they need to return to their more usual work, while picking up the pieces of disrupted patient treatment pathways and working to improve the patient experience.

Naturally, this had a knock-on effect on medical income, with the loss to hospitals estimated to be somewhere between $320 billion to $325 billion. Now that people are receiving vaccines at speed and the rate of infection is slowing, medical facilities can begin to work on regaining some of that lost income and treating those patients who may have chronic conditions or have developed one after overcoming COVID.

Normal, but not normal

Just because everything is opening up again doesn’t mean that everyone shouldn’t be alert to the potential for new variants of the virus. Like ‘flu and colds, the COVID virus mutates, and there is always the risk that the next outbreak could be just as virulent. Keeping social distancing, minimizing queuing, and ensuring adequate ventilation are practical ways to reduce risk to staff and patients. However, technology has a part to play too.

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RightPatient has been improving the patient experience for several hospitals

Remote consultations save time, effort, the patient’s money, and improve the patient experience

Telehealth, the use of virtual or remote appointments rather than in-person consultations, has become popular for first consultations, initial triaging, counseling, and any discussion where actual hands-on physical examination is not required. For some people, it may be mentally less stressful to undertake healthcare appointments in this fashion. For others, it may be simpler and quicker, removing the need for time off work or lengthy journeys. Using telehealth the professional can easily work out which patients to call in for an in-person examination and who simply needs a new prescription or a referral to further care. Telehealth can take the form of a telephone call or video consultation, so most patients should be able to start their treatment pathway virtually. The reduced numbers of patients attending the facility will lower the likelihood of infection and reduce risk to staff and those patients who are clinically more vulnerable to the virus.

The public’s awareness of and engagement with healthcare staff has increased due to the pandemic. More people have been coming into contact with a wide variety of medical professionals as a result of the events of the last year. These people are not just those infected with the virus, they are members of the public who have struggled with loneliness and isolation, mental health issues, grief and loss, as well as those whose domestic arrangements were not suited to extended shelter-in-place requirements.

For many of these people, a remote solution is easier than an in-person visit. Actually leaving the house may be impossible for some, depending on their circumstances. It may be safer for them to remain at home, to have their medication delivered to them, and not to put their long-term health at risk by attending hospital in person. Hospital-acquired infections are a big risk to immunocompromised patients, and after a year of keeping themselves safe, they may be reticent about venturing out too far.

Touchless biometric patient identification solutions such as RightPatient can help healthcare providers ensure that they are treating accurate patients. Because RightPatient is biometric, patient identification is visually by camera rather than confirming answers to questions – it helps improve the patient experience during both virtual and in-person visits.

RightPatient can help healthcare providers treat their patients with less disruption and lower risk to the patients. The providers are still paid for their time and expertise, but the patient avoids an in-person visit unless an examination or procedure is indicated. That’s more convenient all around.

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How to Improve Healthcare Outcomes and Reduce Readmission Rates

Improving a patient’s outcome (for instance, their quality of life or life expectancy) is obviously the prime reason for treating them. Patients approach a medical professional with the hope of ‘being cured’ of whatever ails them, whether that’s by being prescribed medication to ease symptoms or having an operation or procedure to relieve pain or remove or transplant a body part to offer a better quality of life. When they are paying for their treatment, they have every right to expect that their life is better afterward. Hospitals that do not achieve the required levels of treatment outcome are routinely penalized, thus, they need to improve healthcare outcomes. These levels are measured by readmission rates. On average, over 2,500 hospitals are likely to be penalized because of their monthly readmission rates, even though the pandemic will have increased the chances of some patients having to be readmitted.

RightPatient-can-improve healthcare-outcomes-and-reduce-readmission-rates 

Improve healthcare outcomes with an effective patient identification platform

However, there are some very simple ways in which hospitals can improve healthcare outcomes and reduce readmission rates.

Identify your patient. Continue to identify your patient.

Correct patient identification is key. Ensuring that staff members are treating the right patient for the right ailment is, perhaps, needless to say, the best way to improve healthcare outcomes. Getting identification wrong can lead to any number of issues, from unnecessary operations or incorrect scans to potentially dangerous prescription medication being offered.

The best way of ensuring correct patient identification is by using a touchless biometric patient identification platform such as RightPatient. It helps improve healthcare outcomes, ensures timely sharing of appropriate information with other professionals, and ultimately helps lower the chances of a patient safety incident.

The data may be on the screen, and may well be correct. But front desk staff, nurses, medics, and others are only going to know this for sure if they use such a solution. The available data is also likely to show previous admissions, incidents that the patient may have been involved in, allergies, vital statistics, next of kin, and areas of concern for the patient’s health.

Many hospitals undertake patient surveys to help them improve patient care, and this option can be offered as a patient reaches discharge date, if appropriate.

Goals, KPIs, outcomes, HSMRs – whatever you call them, they help improve healthcare outcomes.

Improving the patient’s experience of their stay in the hospital will also improve their view of how well they were treated. A positive outlook has been shown to raise recovery rates. Plus, helping patients recover makes staff feel better too. Making a good outcome a key goal of the organization and the staff will help both sides. Suggesting a reduction in incidents from the previous year is a friendly way to ask for an improvement in figures, whilst still recognizing that employees are human and can make mistakes.

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RightPatient identifies patient records accurately

No matter how good the records, unnecessary scans can be requested and patient information can be incorrectly recorded. It happens. If the patient’s identity can be verified accurately, then mistakes can be avoided.

Sharing is caring.

Sharing information with other caregivers can also improve healthcare outcomes and provide healthcare professionals with a rounded picture of the person they are treating. Not all patients will be happy with this option, but for primary care doctors, knowing where else their patients have already been treated is of great benefit when referring them to other specialties. Many people have to see a different physician for every ailment, and joined up care can make things much easier. When someone with a chronic condition ends up in the ER, a shared electronic health record allows everyone to know what medication the patient has already been prescribed and even whether certain common treatments have already been attempted.

CMS, therefore, requires healthcare providers to use CoP electronic notifications to let other named physicians know that they have a patient in their care. These notifications also alert others in the chain about patient discharge or transfer, which is important for ongoing care – using RightPatient can help with that. RightPatient also aims to prevent duplicate medical records, so acting against medical identity theft. All of this helps CMS compliance, which is good news for a facility’s finances, as fines for CMS breaches can be crippling after a while.

Contact us for more information on how RightPatient can help your facility and your patients stay safer from medical mix-ups and online impersonation by using our biometric patient identity management system.

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4 Strategies for Patient Safety Quality Improvement

Patient safety has always been a much-discussed topic for healthcare experts, hospitals, and well-informed individuals. After all, by not ensuring patient safety, healthcare outcomes will be detrimental due to medical errors, mix-ups, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), lack of proper communication, and more. These events lead to hospitals being hit with lawsuits and losing goodwill. In fact, one of the issues that cause patient safety incidents is medical errors, and a study indicates that they are the third leading cause of U.S. deaths. Moreover, with COVID-19, ensuring patient safety is a much bigger challenge and responsibility than ever before. The focus of this article is patient safety quality improvement and it’s quite clear that it is a must for U.S. hospitals and health systems.

That being said, let’s take a look at 4 strategies that improve patient safety quality, how medical errors are related to patient misidentification and mix-ups, and how ensuring positive patient identification can help.

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RightPatient improves patient safety.

4 strategies for patient safety quality improvement

Providing proper training to healthcare staff members

One of the first tasks for patient safety quality improvement is to evaluate and identify which employees within your healthcare facility require training – they’re the ones dealing with the patients directly, after all. Whether it be nurses, registrars, patient safety professionals, or other staff, improving their skills can significantly improve patient safety. 

Use quizzes, short interviews, and their recent performance to identify the ones that require training regarding the do’s and don’ts and patient safety incidents. Ensure that they know the critical aspects that can make or break patient safety within your facility. 

Identify and work on reducing patient safety incidents

Patient safety incidents are ever-present in hospitals – they’re just waiting to happen unless addressed appropriately. Take a more proactive approach than a reactive one in identifying issues that might cause patient safety incidents down the line by conducting audits. While this might seem repetitive, it does ensure patient safety quality improvement and can help you avoid hefty costs in the process.

One belief many healthcare providers have is that conducting routine checks is enough. However, healthcare is a dynamic environment and there are new challenges every day that need to be addressed appropriately and in due time. Conducting checks regularly or whenever a serious incident occurs in your facility and monitoring to prevent these incidents using apps can also boost patient safety significantly.

 

Work on reducing hospital-acquired infections

During COVID-19, this is a strategy all healthcare providers must implement for patient safety quality improvement. Enforcing social distancing practices for everyone in the facilities is the only way to reduce transmission of infectious diseases. Ensure that people (both patients and healthcare staff members) are standing six feet apart, and use proper PPE. Moreover, provide sanitizers or handwashing facilities at crucial points to ensure better protection. Also, minimize or eliminate physical contact as much as possible, especially in registration areas for all incoming patients. Using a touchless patient identity verification platform can significantly help with improving hygiene, and in turn, patient safety.

Preventing medical errors

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest issues that cause patient safety incidents is medical errors, and most of these can be associated with patient misidentification, patient mix-ups, and duplicate medical records.

Imagine this – if a patient is misidentified right from the start, or is associated with an incomplete medical record, their entire treatment will be full of errors. Not only does this lead to wrong medications, but also leads to wrong transplants, longer hospital stays, readmissions, irreversible physical damage, and even deaths. Preventing medical errors, thus, becomes the topmost priority to enhance patient safety within hospitals – and that’s exactly what RightPatient does. 

Achieve patient safety quality improvement with RightPatient

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that is used by leading healthcare providers to identify their patients accurately at every interaction. By using patients’ photos, RightPatient identifies them accurately right from the start and across the care continuum, preventing duplicate medical records, patient safety incidents, and medical errors.

Are you a responsible healthcare provider that is working to enhance patient safety? Contact us now to learn how you can improve patient safety, and more, with RightPatient.

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Senators Focusing on Improved EHR Data Shows the Importance of Patient Identification

Unfortunately, even now, many believe that patient misidentification is not a significant issue within the US healthcare system. Even many healthcare providers don’t think of it as a huge problem. They fail to acknowledge that patient misidentification corrupts EHR data significantly, leads to patient record mix-ups, is one of the causes of wrong medical procedures, causes avoidable medical errors, and more.

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Let’s break down why they are wrong and how patient misidentification is a huge issue by observing what others are doing to solve it and how RightPatient is helping ensure positive patient identification

Patient misidentification is a huge deal – corrupting EHR data is just one of its consequences

A crucial factor that can lead to better patient safety within hospitals, according to the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals for 2021, is by identifying patients accurately. That’s precisely why it has listed improving patient identification on the top of its list. Each year, the Joint Commission releases goals based on research that they believe will enhance patient safety. Each year, patient identification improvement is always one of the many goals, sometimes even topping the list (just like this year).

There are many healthcare organizations and associations such as AHIMA (The American Health Information Management Association) and CHIME (The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) that focus on patient misidentification, its consequences (EHR data corruption, patient safety issues, detrimental healthcare outcomes), and the need for accurate patient identification.

Even last year, many organizations came together and formed a coalition called “Patient ID Now” for a national patient identifier. Unfortunately, there is very little progress in that area (as of now), and if the past tells us something, then the UPI (unique patient identifier) is still far from reality. Many organizations, healthcare experts, and officials urge the government to lift the ban on creating a state-funded UPI. Unfortunately, the ban has been in effect for more than two decades due to “privacy concerns”. 

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However, while all of that is occurring, patient misidentification is still thriving and causing issues such as duplicate medical records, corrupting EHR data, hampering patient safety, causing avoidable medical errors, and more. Fortunately, more people are identifying how big of a problem it is. 

Patient misidentification is an issue significant enough to bring senators from different parties together. An effort taken by bipartisan senators is focused on improving patient record matching in hospitals and health systems, something that they believe is crucial for vaccine distribution as well.

Called the “Patient Matching Improvement Act”, it aims to provide vaccination sites, hospitals, and testing labs access to the US Postal Service’s address-formatting tool for improving patient record linkages. They believe that this will help contact tracing efforts and track community spread more accurately.

After the pandemic, it will also help improve EHR data within hospitals and health systems as they believe it will help improve patient identification. But will it be enough on its own, if it ever leaves the Senate health committee? What are responsible caregivers doing now to prevent patient misidentification? 

RightPatient effectively prevents data corruption

While there are several solutions available, the most feasible one, given the pandemic, is RightPatient. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that is the choice of responsible healthcare providers. Since it is touchless, it doesn’t create infection control issues for healthcare providers – improving patient safety and ensuring hygiene.

It enhances patient safety, prevents medical identity theft in real-time, ensures that patients are identified at any touchpoint across the care continuum, and is even ideal for telehealth sessions.

However, if the Patient Matching Improvement Act is introduced, RightPatient can augment its effectiveness further, as it is a tried and tested platform used by responsible caregivers – are you one of them?

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5 Ways EHR benefits Healthcare Providers and Patients

Usually, our blog mostly talks about the issues that plague the US healthcare system. Moreover, the majority of 2020 did not give much scope to talk about anything positive, especially in the healthcare space. It has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us, and with the breakthrough vaccines, all of that is hopefully behind us. That being said, we wanted to focus on something positive this time around – the benefits of EHR (electronic health record) systems. They have been in use for years and most of us have taken them for granted. However, EHR systems provide a host of benefits for everyone involved – making processes more streamlined, boosting coordinated care, and improving patient care. Let’s take a look at 5 ways EHR benefits both healthcare providers and patients and how it improves healthcare outcomes.

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5 ways in which EHR benefits healthcare

Before electronic health records, healthcare providers used paper records. While they had some benefits at the time, they had a number of drawbacks as well. For instance, paper medical records took up a significant amount of space.  If a hospital has thousands of patients,  where would all the records be stored? Moreover using paper was not feasible – if you made mistakes, then they had to be crossed out and rewritten. Finally, it was extremely difficult to search for paper medical records. All of these issues are eliminated with electronic health records. 

While the aforementioned were some commonly known EHR benefits, let’s take a look at how it improves healthcare.

Boosts coordinated care

In the earlier decades, patients usually had visited a single hospital, had a single healthcare provider, and all of their doctors were from the same system. Now, healthcare has become complex, includes physicians from different hospitals, and requires all of them to communicate to provide better and coordinated care.

EHR benefits coordinated care efforts significantly. The physicians of a single patient can access their digital medical records that are kept at a centralized location. They can make necessary changes, obtain critical information, and make informed decisions, all of which are recorded within the EHRs, helping everyone to work together.

CMS has also mandated healthcare providers using EHR systems to support e-notifications in order to boost interoperability and enhance coordinated care. Fortunately, RightPatient can help send out accurate alerts and prevent false ones. 

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Ensures a well-organized database

Since EHRs are digital, they need to be stored somewhere – a database, to be precise. With EHR systems, healthcare providers can store their data in a centralized location if they choose to do so, as many of them back up the data in other locations. As all of the data is in a single location, it is much easier to manage, access, update, and keep track of activities such as changes made.

EHR benefits patient care

Interrelated with the previous points, EHRs help enhance patient care, as information is retrieved and stored faster, something that is critical during time-sensitive cases to make informed decisions. Moreover, most of these records are virtually error-free, and if not, they can be rectified whenever required.

Secures patient data

EHRs don’t have the risks associated with paper records – fire, water, or some other damage won’t be able to affect them. Moreover, most healthcare providers keep backups, so, in cases of emergency, the backups can be used. Moreover, the information is encrypted and sent via secure means, rendering it useless for hackers in most cases.

Improves efficiency

As previously mentioned, EHR systems dramatically improve efficiency. Prior to EHRs, caregivers had to search for the record manually and send faxed copies to labs, or other caregivers – something which was not secure, and recordkeeping was quite problematic. For instance, imagine that you sent a record of 4 pages, but you got back 10 pages in return that contained new information – recordkeeping was an administrative nightmare!

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With EHRs, the healthcare staff member simply puts the name in the search bar, identifies the accurate medical record, and sends it over securely. The EHR user doesn’t need to accommodate the new information; it automatically gets recorded in the original record, making everything more efficient than ever. Also, healthcare teams don’t need to visit each other to send over the records – one click and it’s sent over to the required individuals, saving time and costs.

RightPatient boosts EHR benefits

While EHRs have a number of advantages it brings for healthcare providers and patients, some external factors hinder them from providing the best possible experience. One such restriction is patient identification. 

The unique patient identifier (UPI) was supposed to be made around two decades ago, but due to privacy concerns, a ban was imposed on its funding. As a result, healthcare providers still struggle with patient identification errors. Not everyone faces these issues, though, many use RightPatient. 

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform used by several responsible healthcare providers and clinics. It identifies patients accurately across the care continuum and becomes part of the EHR workflow. 

During enrollment, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform captures a photo and their biometric data and attaches them to their EHRs. Returning patients just have to look at the camera – RightPatient runs a search and provides accurate medical records in seconds, boosting EHR efficiency. The best part is that the process is entirely touchless, eliminating any chances for HAIs (hospital-acquired infections), making it ideal to be used in the post-pandemic world. 

RightPatient also prevents duplicate medical records and overlays – something that is extremely crucial to improve healthcare operations.

RightPatient enhances patient safety, improves patient outcomes, prevents medical identity theft, and boosts the bottom lines of healthcare providers – something that is vital right now to survive during the pandemic. Be a responsible healthcare provider and contact us now to learn how we can help your healthcare facility.

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2021’s Patient Safety Goals Show that Patient Identification Is the Topmost Concern

This has been a devastating year all around for the entire world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Even though there have been a lot of issues within the US healthcare system that surfaced during the pandemic, one of the more prominent problems healthcare providers faced (and are still facing) is patient identification errors. Experts have talked about and how patient misidentification is detrimental to both patient safety and quality healthcare. Thus, it isn’t surprising that improving the accuracy of patient identification takes the top spot of 2021’s patient safety goals as per the Joint Commission.

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Let’s take a look at the new goals set by the Joint Commission, why improving patient identification can help achieve the other goals, and how RightPatient can help healthcare providers.

Patient safety goals for next year

The Joint Commission outlines the top patient safety concerns that healthcare providers must address each year based on available information. Patient identification has been on the list almost constantly because errors can cause a lot of adverse effects for patient safety, healthcare outcomes, hospitals’ finances, etc. – more on that later.

Let’s take a look at the national patient safety goals for the upcoming year 2021:

  • Identify patients accurately.
  • Improve staff communication.
  • Safely use medicines.
  • Reduce patient harm by improving clinical alarm systems.
  • Reduce hospital-acquired infections.
  • Identify patient safety risks within the healthcare facility.
  • Prevent surgical mistakes.

While these are different issues, some of these patient safety goals can be met, or at least the unwanted incidents can be reduced, by ensuring accurate patient identification with RightPatient.

How patient identification ties in with other patient safety goals

While patient identification errors might seem trivial to some, there have been many complaints about the different problems which were consequences of misidentification – not finding the accurate medical record, delays in care, repeated tests, etc. As a result, many healthcare experts are clamoring for the mythical national patient identifier once again this year. However, national patient identifier or not, patient identification must be accurate to mitigate patient safety issues. Moreover, by ensuring accurate patient identification, other patient safety goals can be met – let’s explore how.

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Improving staff communication

Communication is crucial for ensuring improved healthcare outcomes and reducing patient safety incidents across the care continuum. By ensuring that patient data is accurate and consistent, it will enhance outcomes, as most patient safety incidents occur when patient data is corrupted, fragmented, obsolete, or inconsistent.

When patients are accurately identified every time at any touchpoint across the hospital, it helps maintain patient data integrity, ensures that the correct information regarding the patient is used, leading to accurate test results being passed to the appropriate personnel at the right time.

Safely use medicines

Many patient safety incidents occur because of simply giving the wrong patients the wrong medicine, incorrect doses, and/or at the wrong time, leading to preventable medical errors. While clearly labeling and rechecking do help, many medical errors occur because of patient misidentification. For instance, if the patient is misidentified right from registration, rechecking the name or information won’t help, as it belongs to someone else entirely.

If patients are accurately identified from the start, not only will patient misidentification be eliminated, but medical errors will be prevented too, enhancing patient safety and improving healthcare outcomes in the process.

Prevent surgical mistakes

This is somewhat related to the previous point, but medical record mix-ups do lead to the wrong surgeries being performed as well. If the patient is misidentified during registration, rechecking won’t help, as it will lead to the wrong surgery being performed on the wrong patient. 

Only by identifying patients accurately at the front-end can mistakes such as patient record mix-ups be prevented effectively.

Reduce hospital-acquired infections

Now, how can patient identification reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)?

Well, as there is no standardized patient identifier present in the US healthcare system, many caregivers are using different solutions to fit their needs. However, many of these solutions can be ineffective and are touch-based, which is a major challenge, given the pandemic. These touch-based solutions can lead to infection control issues, as they require contact by multiple individuals. If an infected person uses it, the subsequent patients will be infected as well, leading to a disastrous situation.

However, many caregivers are using innovative solutions such as RightPatient – a touchless biometric patient identification platform. It uses the patients’ photos to ensure that the patients are who they claim to be, preventing patient identification errors, mix-ups, duplicate medical records, and more. It can also be used across any touchpoint, starting from appointment scheduling.

How RightPatient works – improving patient safety

Patients need to provide a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license – the platform automatically compares them for a match, remotely verifying their identities. During inpatient visits, the patients only need to look at the camera – the platform provides accurate medical records within seconds after comparing the live picture with the saved one.

RightPatient thus prevents HAIs as it is a contactless solution, enhancing patient safety, improving patient outcomes, and reducing preventable medical errors across the care continuum.