Why Healthcare Advocacy is an Underappreciated Aspect of Healthcare

Why Healthcare Advocacy is an Underappreciated Aspect of Healthcare

The healthcare system is not only growing but is also getting increasingly complex. It is common for patients to see multiple specialists, which often makes it harder for them to manage bills and keep track of treatments. 

In fact, about 52 percent of patients cannot correctly navigate the system. Healthcare advocacy can prove to be a savior and help patients deal with the complicated healthcare system.

Why Healthcare Advocacy is an Underappreciated Aspect of Healthcare

Introduction to Healthcare Advocacy

The purpose of healthcare advocacy is to make it easier for patients to manage their healthcare, especially for seniors with cognitive impairment or for individuals dealing with issues such as exhaustion and stress.

Patients often have to spend hours going through documents such as insurance forms that they do not always understand. It is even common for patients to misunderstand options or diagnoses, which can result in major issues such as missed appointments and wrong dosage. This is when healthcare advocates come to play. 

They offer direct and customized assistance to patients and make healthcare easy to access. Moreover, they educate patients and guide them through insurance questions, administration tasks, legal issues, and more.

Companies can choose to hire independent health advocates or work with advocacy organizations. Furthermore, even hospitals often offer advocates in the form of nurses. These advocates offer a variety of services, including:

  • Coordinating with specialists and communicating with providers
  • Explaining patient rights and confusing information
  • Identifying resources and making referrals
  • Clarifying medical conditions and diagnoses
  • Reviewing bills and getting errors corrected
  • Reviewing insurance policies, explaining different terms, and advising on policies 
  • Information about available insurance benefits and technologies such as telehealth
  • Helping people with hospital admissions and discharge procedures
  • Assisting with meals, home care, housing, and more, especially when dealing with older patients
  • Helping with disability filings, legal concerns

The Importance of Advocacy in Healthcare

The best way to understand the importance of advocacy in healthcare is to examine patient support roles and healthcare policy. Advocacy can be on an individual level or large scale, while the former focuses on individual patients, and the latter focuses on the system and ways to improve it.  

Large Scale Advocacy

Leaders and lawmakers sit down to create healthcare policies, but they don’t do it alone. They often get organizations onboard and seek expertise from different corners to ensure the policy is effective and efficient. 

The purpose of large-scale advocacy is to guide these policymakers and support a reliable and well-informed decision-making process. It encourages reforms and changes that improve the system in the eyes of the latest research. The aim is to improve technologies and cultivate better relationships in the industry. Moreover, it encourages policies that take into account factors such as the changing socioeconomic situation of the country. 

Through influencing public policy, healthcare advocacy aims to improve the community and individual healthcare and reduce health disparities. Large-scale healthcare advocacy does not only work to improve the policies but also to ensure they get approved quickly. Furthermore, healthcare advocacy works to secure the finances needed to support the introduction of new healthcare policies.  

A great example of large-scale healthcare advocacy was seen during the pandemic when experts jumped into action to create efficient policies. They shared their expertise with the lawmakers and highlighted technologies such as telehealth. These policies have helped control the pandemic and things are already back to normal in most parts of the world. 

Something similar was seen during the AIDS crisis when advocacy groups came together to start AIDS research, ultimately resulting in the development of treatments that have proven to be highly effective. 

In addition, healthcare advocacy groups are also working to reduce racism in the industry by ensuring all groups get access to healthcare. They’re educating healthcare providers, policymakers, and people to combat discriminatory practices.

Individual Scale Healthcare Advocacy

Healthcare advocacy on an individual level does a very important job of helping individuals navigate through the complex system. The main job of advocates is to ensure patients receive the care that they require without having to deal with unnecessary costs, paperwork, or hassles. They work to improve safety and optimize care delivery and answer all relevant questions a patient may have.

By helping patients, they also help organizations improve their engagement. Reports suggest that about 42 percent of physicians believe that healthcare advocacy has helped improve quality outcomes, whereas 38 percent believe that it can be good for patient experiences. Similarly, about 26 percent agree that it can help save patient costs.

Healthcare advocacy helps all patients, regardless of their background or status. This is very important because not all patients have family members or loved ones to take care of them or to explain the system. As a result, patients often end up delaying procedures, choosing the wrong procedure, or suffering from more pain and anguish.

6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients

6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients 

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have played a major role in the digital transformation of the healthcare industry as a whole. And, in particular, they have helped patients benefit from more accurate diagnoses and higher-quality, uninterrupted medical care. 

But how can healthcare providers make the most of their medical record system to support the treatment and long-term care of patients? Here are just five ways to use EHRs to deliver higher-quality healthcare to patients.

6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients

Delivering More Accurate Diagnoses

Although advances in screening technologies and healthcare have significantly reduced the risk of misdiagnosis, recent estimates show that, on average, 1 in 20 adult patients seeking outpatient medical care receive a wrong diagnosis. 

What’s more, some long-term conditions have much higher misdiagnosis rates. For example, although neurologists can easily answer questions such as “what is epilepsy?” or “what are the symptoms of epilepsy?” diagnosing this condition remains challenging.  In fact, an estimated 20-30% of people with epilepsy are believed to have been misdiagnosed, according to Epilepsy Foundation. 

Electronic medical records have helped treatment providers in determining hard-to-diagnose conditions like epilepsy by providing access to accurate real-time and historical data, which assists in predicting patient risk, timely addressing risk factors, and reducing human error.

New Telemedicine Opportunities

One of the best ways in which EHRs are helping advance healthcare is through the telemedicine opportunities they provide. 

Telehealth and virtual care are playing a pivotal role in helping the healthcare system cope with the unprecedented pressure stemming from an aging population and the need for more accessible, quality care. What’s more, telehealth services help providers boost care accessibility and reduce burnout.

With EHR systems featuring telehealth capabilities, providers can introduce an additional real-time communication channel to boost provider-patient relationships. Telehealth has also helped providers deliver continued care to those with long-term or chronic conditions, especially in the case of patients with mobility issues or living in remote areas.

Integrations With Health-Tracking Devices

The latest Electronic Health Record systems can integrate with health-tracking devices, such as mobile apps and smartwatches. These wearable devices monitor real-time health data relating to a wide range of conditions, including heart rate, glucose levels, quality of sleep, and seizure intensity and frequency. 

From a patient’s viewpoint, these tools deliver better control over one’s health and allow high-risk individuals to take preventive steps. On the other hand, providers can access real-time and accurate health data about their patients and enhance insights on treatment effectiveness, recovery progress, and condition development. 

Boosting Patient Satisfaction

Medical records are essential for clinics looking to improve patient identity, satisfaction, and care. EHRs and patient portals allow patients to enjoy a direct communication channel with their providers, seamlessly schedule follow-up appointments, and retrieve details of their medical history in no time. 

From a provider’s viewpoint, EHRs provide healthcare clinics with quick access to patient data and a secure information-sharing system. What’s more, EHR systems support clinical decision-making, reduce the likelihood of human error, and deliver clinical alerts and reminders.

Seamless Care Through Collaborative Data Collection 

Interoperable medical record systems allow healthcare clinics and care providers to share collaborative datasets and access real-time information, which is essential to provide patients with ongoing, uninterrupted care. 

This is particularly important in the case of patients who deal with a range of healthcare providers and specialists during their treatment journey, where the communication of patient information is critical. 

Improved Quality of Life Through Risk Management

One of the key roles of EHRs is to reduce the risk of human error to a minimum. Through EHRs, clinics no longer need to deal with error-prone, labor-intensive data transcription processes, and can instantly deliver data to other providers involved in a patient’s treatment. 

Moreover, many healthcare facilities are using innovative solutions to ensure accurate patient identification. For instance, a touchless patient identification platform like RightPatient helps ensure patient data integrity and helps identify the correct medical record each time the patient comes in for a visit using their photos. 

High-risk patients can also benefit from uninterrupted monitoring of their condition and risk factors, thus reducing the likelihood of dealing with more severe health conditions in the future. 

Although the cost of EHR systems and the differences between one system and another are two of the most significant adoption barriers, medical records are already yielding considerable benefits in the diagnosis, treatment, and clinical care of a range of conditions.

5 Ways Patients Can Pay Healthcare Costs

5 Ways Patients Can Pay Healthcare Costs

The cost of healthcare is a concern for millions, and so thinking about how you’ll cope as and when you’re hit with a big medical bill is best done in advance.

5 Ways Patients Can Pay Healthcare Costs

Here are just a few examples of ways that patients often pay for treatment, so that you can put your own plans in place.

Personal loans

When faced with significant healthcare expenses, taking out a loan is a solution to help spread the costs over a longer period, rather than having to suffer a major hit to your finances all at once.

You should read more about personal loans to ensure that you know what to look for in a deal, and how to find a lending arrangement that suits you.

Insurance

Health insurance, whether as part of a public scheme or from a private provider, can protect you against the bulk of the costs that you’ll face when you need to use healthcare services, or receive ongoing treatment for a condition.

The cost of cover will vary depending on the scheme, as well as according to your own medical history and circumstances.

Local programs

In the case that the financial strain of paying for medical aid and prescription drugs is too great, there are social service agencies in all states which may be in a position to provide support.

Often people will use a combination of resources to pay for healthcare, and again it’s down to the unique situation of each individual, as well as the services in your area.

Savings

The idea of saving for a rainy day is a tried and tested way to ensure that if you suddenly find yourself lumbered with expensive healthcare to pay for, you won’t have to be entirely reliant on outside assistance.

Paying into a healthcare savings pot on a regular basis means that there will always be money available for when the unexpected happens. And of course, you can always use this cash for other emergencies as well, depending on the type of savings account you choose and the terms of use that apply to it.

Crowdfunding

It’s a reality of the modern world that running crowdfunding campaigns to pay for medical treatments is not just possible thanks to technology, but also necessary because of the way that the healthcare industry operates today.

Setting up a crowdfunding page on one of the many mainstream platforms that support this will allow you to share your scheme with friends and family, as well as potentially getting donations from complete strangers who are compelled to contribute out of an ethical sense of duty to their fellow human beings.

Other points to consider

It’s worth talking briefly about the opportunities you have to make savings on healthcare costs so that the price you pay for treatment isn’t as steep regardless of how you choose to fund it.

For example, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with the pharmaceutical firms which supply any prescription medicines that you require in order to see if there are any affordable alternatives to what you’re taking, or if they offer discounts.

Also, it may be worth taking out additional insurance in the case that you’re the main breadwinner in the household. Disruption to your income caused by prolonged poor health can be a catastrophe, so accounting for this rather than hoping for the best is useful.

Final thoughts

You rarely have to face healthcare costs alone. Whether you borrow from a reputable lender, use insurance, or source the funds from your savings or those around you, there’s always a path forward.

How Can Healthcare Information Systems Eliminate Diagnostic Errors

How Can Healthcare Information Systems Eliminate Diagnostic Errors?

When you visit a medical professional for your problems, you want to ensure that you get the correct diagnosis. Otherwise, you’ll receive the wrong treatment plan and won’t remedy your issue. This situation can be extremely frustrating and cause you to go without the proper treatment plan for your ailment.

How Can Healthcare Information Systems Eliminate Diagnostic Errors

Fortunately, healthcare information systems have several ways that they can eliminate diagnostic errors to ensure you get the correct treatment. Please continue reading to learn how healthcare professionals work to eliminate these errors.

Building Knowledge

Healthcare professionals must rely on constantly changing information and stay up to date to give the correct diagnosis. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, healthcare professionals had to adjust quickly to ensure patients received proper care.

Experts in the field work constantly to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information available for doctors to examine. When a team of professionals works to ensure correct information, patients don’t have to worry much about receiving the wrong diagnosis.

Moreover, many healthcare providers are using innovative solutions to ensure that patients are identified accurately to prevent patient mixups, patient data integrity issues, and diagnostic errors. For instance, RightPatient, a leading touchless biometric patient identification platform, is used by several healthcare providers across the US. It uses patient photos to identify their EHRs accurately. Whenever a new patient comes in, RightPatient takes a photo and attaches it with the patient’s EHR, and during subsequent visits, returning patients just need to look at the camera – the platform takes a photo, runs a biometric search, and provides the accurate EHR. 

How Diagnostic Errors Happen

Unfortunately, there are situations where a patient might receive the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment plan. Patients and doctors must work hard to ensure these diagnostic errors don’t occur so patients can stay healthy. The following are several reasons diagnostic errors have occurred in the past.

Not Enough Time To Monitor Symptoms

A doctor must take the time to monitor a patient’s symptoms. For example, when a doctor can monitor symptoms frequently, they can give a proper diagnosis. Alternatively, if a patient gives a doctor information by word of mouth, then there is a chance that information gets misconstrued.

Inexperienced Doctor

When a doctor is new to the field, there’s a higher chance that they will hand out an incorrect diagnosis. If you’re a patient seeking a doctor for treatment for your ailment, then it’s important that you research your healthcare professional to ensure that they have plenty of experience. An experienced doctor has seen your ailment before and knows what diagnosis to provide.

No Follow Up Appointments

Healthcare professionals must schedule follow-up appointments to ensure the treatment plan works for the patient. It is also imperative that patients attend these follow-up appointments to give accurate treatment information to the doctor. If a doctor doesn’t schedule a follow-up appointment, they have no way to monitor the patient’s treatment plan.

Lack Of Testing

The final reason diagnostic errors occur in Healthcare is the lack of testing. Some lab tests can be expensive, and patients can only sometimes afford them if they have insurance. If you can afford thorough lab tests for your ailment, it’s best to go through this testing to get the proper treatment plan.

The Importance Of Patient and Doctor Communication

Doctors and patients must keep open communication and provide accurate information to each other. You need to give your doctor the correct information when they ask to avoid receiving the wrong treatment plan.

In addition, certain medications can interfere with each other and create dangerous health conditions, so be open and honest about the medications you take to your doctor.

Dementia is a common condition people get as they age, and it’s important to maintain open communication with your doctor to receive a correct dementia diagnosis. Please read more to learn about an accurate dementia evaluation.

What To Do If You Receive The Wrong Treatment Plan

If you receive the wrong treatment plan for your ailment, you must immediately communicate this problem with your doctor. Call your doctor’s office and inform them about what’s wrong with the treatment and the symptoms you experience. The last thing you want to do is go too long without the right treatment and risk your condition worsening.

Blockchain - Opportunities for Healthcare

Blockchain: Opportunities for Healthcare

How is that exciting if the data is recorded as a distributed database? Yes, with the assistance of Blockchain you can do this task quickly. This distributed database is known to be a block. The Cryptography technique joins these blocks together to store the recording in digital format. A famous currency Bitcoin is managed according to this block-chain technique. Because it protects the transaction terms.

Blockchain - Opportunities for Healthcare

Yes, it is impossible to cheat, hack, and change the recorded data once information is added to it, but there are different ways to structure the data. Each “block” has a massive amount of information. Specific storage is kept for an individual block. When the storage capacity is filled then that block is closed. At that moment the locked block connects to the previously sealed one. Through this process, the network chain is formed as a blockchain. When new information is added, new blocks are formed and included in the chain.

Scope

Blockchain technology is being used to solve problems in many fields, including healthcare.

It protects the patient’s data and general involvement in the patient’s health. Also can decrease costs. Blockchain provides the benefit to transfer the patient’s records from one hospital to chemist’s organizations, surgeons, and other laboratories for problem-solving. 

It plays an important role in the medical field by saving the life of any patient by identifying the serious disease. So, Blockchain technology is considered one of the best for protecting, medical data sharing, and enactment in the field of healthcare. 

It increases the rate of awareness in the analysis of medical issues. Mainly, this technology reduces the patient’s fear of coping with their medical data as it provides the highest level of security system. 

For accessing the data, the system offers interconnection, verification, adaptability, and answerability. Patient issues like sugar level and blood pressure data can also be determined and stored by attaching some useful devices and also with the help of things on the internet. 

It is very helpful for the doctor whose patients require these values at a normal level. The exchange of health information gives more security and enhances the healthcare quality consists of some main steps.

  • Information about the health of the patient.
  • Monitoring systems and things on the internet provide the ability to collect more data.
  • Increases the advocating through electronics. 
  • Messages are kept with complete security.
  • It claims full medical assurance.  

Benefits

  • For protecting the data, blockchain encodes all the data. 
  • It uses the highest level of security to guard each sort of data. 
  • Virtual and real-world value can be held because of its digital system.
  • The term transparency gives the benefit to get ownership of any company.
  • Blockchain is a much cheaper, faster, and better option for the care of patients. 
  • This system updates from time to time for sharing the data between the provider and patient.
  • Smart deals always maintain the balance in the data. 
  • Most efficient system.
  • It decreases the mistakes and scams that occur in clinical trials. 
  • Organizations and researchers get the inclusive spectrum of data without any interruptions. 
  • This technique explores the disease timely which helps to eradicate the origin of the disease. 
  • Blockchain also shields information about DNA (genomic data). 
  • In blockchain networks, electronic medical records (EMRs) guard the data and send it to other medical centers with full safety. 

Applications

Effects analyzer of the specific process: Patient’s recorded secure data provides the opportunity to analyze the effects of specific problems or diseases. After identifying, it is easy to accomplish the disease. Blockchain provides the capability of storing data and making the results faster. You can straightforwardly collect significant data in case of surgery or any other crisis. 

Clarity and welfare: Some patients’ diseases take a long time with the doctors. This system gives security and honesty for a long time. In case of any erratic ailment, it also offers the tracks for clinical terms and support in cure. Transparency allows exchanging of medical data between some physicians and medical laboratories to recognize the issue speedily without anxiety.   

Antiseptic evaluation: Blockchain technology is used to check the results of clinical experimentations. It explores whether the desired result is matched with the analysis result or not. This useful system can also allow suggestions for reasonable medicines by monitoring the chain. 

Decreases the extra and needless expenses: Blockchain gives the biggest opportunity to complete the whole treatment from verification of problems to cure with nice time management. This benefit saves the patient’s life, time, and also money. Many problems of clinical treatment like report completion, interoperability, failure, and theft of data all are resolved by time management property.  

Information about origin: For any problem solution, finding out the origin of the problem is the main and essential step to eradicating the issues. That’s why blockchain is considered the most valuable and most used mobile app. It gives the display key points about any medical issue of high quality. This would increase the better medication options. Clinical trials, medicinal products, vaccines, and medications are all factors that become well in their sector by this wonderful system. 

Keeping records about health: In the world of medicine, keeping health records is pleasantly done in blockchain coordination. Assurance supervision, allocation of records for healthcare, keeping the healthcare data by electronics, and performing the task for management are all applications in the medical field by the system of the blockchain.  

Conclusion

Blockchain is the system in which we can store information by making the blocks. These blocks are interconnected with each other. No one can hack, change or copy the recorded data. This process is used worldwide in fields. The healthcare sector is one of the important parts.  Blockchain saves the patient’s data with full protection. You can exchange data with other medical laboratories to diagnose without any fear of missing, copying, or changing the saved data. After studying the above benefits and opportunities, you can understand how important blockchain technology is in the healthcare center. For any curing of the disease must select blockchain technology to save life and money.  

How Technology Is Transforming Patient Care

How Technology Is Transforming Patient Care

Technology has been successfully utilized in many industries over the years to benefit people’s lives, with healthcare being no exception. One of the most notable milestones in the relationship between healthcare and technology has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an exponential rise in the use of telehealth as patients and medical providers sought new ways to safely access and deliver healthcare.

How Technology Is Transforming Patient Care

Digital devices, apps, and remote monitoring are some of the ways patients stay in touch with their medical providers to receive the care they need. According to estimations by McKinsey,  telehealth adoption showed a sharp rise from 11% in 2019 to 40% in 2021. This acceleration could result in up to $250 billion of current US healthcare being potentially virtualized. This article will explore the field of telehealth and its benefits for patient care in more detail.

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is the delivery of health services through the use of telecommunication technologies such as computers, tablets, and smartphones to facilitate the provision of healthcare from a distance. Rather than in-person visits, telehealth allows patients and providers to do the following:

  • Schedule appointments, order medication, and communicate over the phone or via video conferencing.
  • Send and read messages through secure and reliable means.
  • Check symptoms or vital signs through remote monitoring devices, allowing healthcare providers to check on the progress and status of their patients from home.

In this way, telehealth solutions offer increased flexibility and convenience for both patients and healthcare providers.

Many healthcare providers can even ensure accurate patient identification remotely with touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. When such a platform is implemented, it ensures that the patient receives treatment according to their EHR, ensuring patient safety and preventing medical identity theft in the process. 

The Benefits of Telehealth

The digitization of many healthcare practices can improve patient experience in a number of ways as outlined below.

  • Better access to healthcare: As it is offered from a distance, telehealth offers the ability for more people to access medical care. This enables those who previously may not have had such access, such as the elderly, disabled people, or those without the means of transportation, to the healthcare services they need.
  • Less risk of infection: Without the need for in-person contact between patients and healthcare providers, the risk of contamination or spread of infectious illnesses is also significantly reduced. 
  • Easier for patients: Without the need to travel to see a doctor, take time off work or wait in a waiting room, telehealth makes it easier for people to receive the care that they need. Such services eliminate the need for sick, disabled, or medically vulnerable people to have to travel to their appointments, and patients who require in-home care such as those at Husky Senior Care can also find this of particular benefit.
  • Better follow-up care: With regular alerts, automated messaging, and other consistent means of communication offered through technology, medical providers are better able to monitor their patients’ progress reducing the risk of any adverse consequences following surgery, medication, or missed appointments.
  • Access to specialists: Telehealth makes it possible for patients to receive healthcare from medical providers in specialist fields who are based in other cities or other countries.

With all of the benefits outlined above, it seems that telehealth is here to stay and will continue to grow, enabling healthcare providers to deliver services to their patients remotely.

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Privacy is something we value as a society. And yet, now that so much of our personal information can be found online, privacy is something that so often feels rare and special. In healthcare, it needs to be a given. 

Healthcare data is extremely important and extremely sensitive. Patients tell their doctors things that they would never tell anyone else. It’s very important for healthcare managers to prioritize patient confidentiality as part of a larger management strategy. Let’s take a look at how and why patient confidentiality is so important in healthcare management. 

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Federal Law Protects Patient Data

Healthcare managers need to remember that patient data is protected under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This law sets standards for how patient data can be shared and handled, and how it must be protected. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule also outlines the rights patients have when it comes to understanding how their health data will be used. They have the right to control who sees their information and how it will be used. Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is what links health data to the individual.

Violating federal patient data laws can result in hefty fines. Healthcare managers need to ensure that everyone in their organization is complying with all relevant legislation. 

Patients Need to Trust Their Doctors 

Healthcare providers need to know the most intimate details of people’s lives in order to provide them with the care they need. Patients are extremely vulnerable when they walk into a doctor’s office — they’re poked, prodded, weighed, and asked a whole range of highly personal questions. Some people lie to their doctors about their health and habits, especially if they don’t feel they can trust them. 

Trust is a cornerstone of providing the best possible care. A patient who doesn’t feel comfortable with their doctor isn’t going to be open and honest with them about their habits, symptoms, and concerns. In many cases, this can lead to patients receiving poor care or delaying a diagnosis and allowing the problem to get worse. 

At the end of the day, a patient who can’t trust a doctor with their health information is likely to have poorer health outcomes. Patients have to be able to trust that their health data is kept confidential unless they allow it to be shared. Without that trust, personalized treatment plans that help people stay healthy are impossible to establish. 

The Threat to Patient Privacy Has Never Been Greater 

Today, nearly all patient records are stored electronically. Electronic Health Records (EHR) have a huge number of benefits: they’re easier to share among providers, they can help reduce medical errors, and they take up less space. However, having all patient records in electronic form also has its risks. 

Medical organizations are top targets for cybercriminals, meaning that data breaches are common in the industry. Patient data is frequently compromised during these attacks, exposing the sensitive information of thousands. 

Data breaches cost organizations millions of dollars. Organizations of all sizes can be targeted and these breaches typically involve logistically difficult and expensive cleanup, a loss of patient trust, and damage to the organization’s reputation. 

Fortunately, healthcare providers can prevent medical identity theft with RightPatient – a touchless biometric patient identification platform. During the registration process, the platform attaches a photo of the patient with their EHR, essentially locking it. Whenever a bad actor comes in to assume the identity of a patient, RightPatient compares their photo with the one saved during registration, stopping the fraudster and medical identity theft in real-time. 

Effective Healthcare Management Requires a Cybersecurity Focus

Because breaches are an ongoing threat, organizations have to be prepared. Making cybersecurity a major focus can help to ensure that best practices are being used in an organization on an ongoing basis. Cybercriminals are always evolving their techniques and cybersecurity needs to stay at least a step ahead. 

Investing in cybersecurity technology and personnel is smart for healthcare leaders as it can reduce the likelihood of a breach and help organizations plan for recovery if a breach should occur. Organizations without a breach response plan will find themselves scrambling when a breach does occur. 

Proper Training is Critical 

From a healthcare management perspective, training is a huge component of proper data security protocols. People are frequently the weakest link in the chain and many cyberattacks are due to personnel negligence or ignorance. Many people create weak passwords, click on links they shouldn’t, or leave work laptops open in public places. 

Training must be ongoing and frequently updated. Creating a culture around cybersecurity is an important step in protecting patients’ privacy. Anyone who has access to patient data or interacts with patients must be involved in these regular training protocols. 

Prioritizing Confidentiality is the Right Thing to Do 

Even without federal laws protecting patients’ data and the cost associated with data breaches, protecting patients’ privacy is simply the right thing to do. Healthcare managers need to focus on what’s important: facilitating optimal care to promote great outcomes and trust in the healthcare system. 

People are often scared and in pain when they visit their doctor or the hospital. The last thing they need to worry about is their data being shared or sold without their permission. Confidentiality matters in healthcare, and it’s a critical consideration for any effective healthcare management strategy.

A Guide To The Future of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

A Guide To The Future of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Administrative tasks in the healthcare industry are essential, but they can also be labor-intensive, extremely time-consuming, and dangerously prone to human error. 

So, it isn’t surprising that, since their introduction in the 1970s, Electronic Health Records (EHR) have played a pivotal role in transforming the healthcare industry – both in terms of efficiency and quality. 

While these systems are still in their infancy and not entirely faultless, they have the potential to propel the healthcare sector into the future. Discover how below. 

A Guide To The Future of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Electronic Health Records: An Overview

Electronic Health Records (EHR) refer to the digital counterpart of a patient’s paper chart. Typically used in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities, these digital charts offer a collection of systematized information about a patient or the local population. 

Since these records are often stored in internal cloud infrastructures, they can be easily accessed, shared, and recovered by different authorized healthcare providers and facilities.

Just after their invention in the late 1960s, EHRs existed in rudimentary infrastructures, and they were mainly used in academic inpatient and outpatient medical facilities. 

However, thanks to the technological advancements that took place in the 1990s and 2000s, digitized patient data became more popular, and they underwent significant upgrades between 1992 and 2015. By 2011, nearly 60% of clinics were regularly using EHR technology in combination with paper charts. 

How EHRs Affect the Healthcare Industry

Over the past 10 years, the crucial role played by EHRs became evident and, according to estimations by Nature, 96% of hospitals and 86% of physicians’ offices in the US now use digitized medical records. 

There are many reasons for the mass adoption of electronic health records that took place in the past years, and most of them are connected to the benefits this technology offers to most medical facilities. 

Thanks to EHRs, clinics can now reduce the risk of human error, transfer critical patient information to other providers and facilities, and update a patient’s health record in real-time. What’s more, EHRs are user-friendly for both healthcare providers and patients, and they can be integrated with other systems within a certain healthcare setting (including billing and scheduling systems).

In terms of boosting the efficiency of clinical settings, EHR has played an essential role in helping the healthcare system boost automation and deal with the unprecedented demand fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic and the aging population. 

Adoption of EHRs: Challenges and Benefits

Undeniably, the implementation of electronic health records can boost the quality and efficiency of the healthcare system, reduce paperwork, and even put patients in control of their health. What’s more, EHRs have helped clinics streamline patient management, build relationships of trust, and make better clinical decisions.

However, most clinics using EHRs today do so in combination with traditional paper charts, mostly due to the adoption challenges this technology is facing today. 

Some of the greatest concerns hindering the widespread adoption of EHR include patient data security, physician error, data breaches, and loss or damage due to poor software infrastructures. The cost of use, training needs, and the limited tech abilities of less tech-savvy physicians are additional minor challenges. 

The Future Potential of EHRs

Since their introduction over forty years ago, electronic medical records have evolved drastically. Thanks to EHR optimization and improvement strategies, physicians are now able to seamlessly access and consult real-time patient data, monitor at-home care, and schedule appointments. 

What’s more, as emerging technologies become more affordable and widespread, EHRs gain new, powerful functionalities, including:

  • GPS technology can provide patients with remote assistance and greater security levels.
  • IoT devices can monitor vital signs and deliver personalized reminders (i.e.: medication alerts).
  • Greater levels of interoperability allow for greater ease of use and access
  • Enhanced patient safety when touchless patient identification platforms like RightPatient are used. 
  • Live video streaming platforms support remote communication with patients and telehealth services.
  • Greater levels of integration with billing, appointment scheduling, and patient management software will allow for more streamlined workflows. 
  • More ad hoc EHR solutions that fit the specific needs of a certain clinic, hospital, lab, or facility, also through app extensions and customized functionalities.
  • Customized user experience for patients and healthcare providers
  • Faster EHR adoption and cycle times to deliver consistent and integrated data in real-time across multiple facilities.

While it is impossible to foresee the exact extent to which EHRs will change the healthcare industry, it is already evident that this technology will play a crucial role in helping the global healthcare industry cope with the unprecedented demand for quality, affordable, and accessible care. 

Improving Patient Engagement and Satisfaction With Text Messaging

Improving Patient Engagement and Satisfaction With Text Messaging

“Patient engagement” is no longer a buzzword. It’s now an essential component for healthcare provider success. With effective patient engagement comes substantial improvements in everything from overall patient health to treatment outcomes to an organization’s bottom line. Many hospitals also use touchless patient identification platforms like RightPatient. Such a platform helps improve patient outcomes as well as enhance patient satisfaction as they the proper care without any errors. The good news is that achieving substantial improvements in patient engagement does not require substantial work. All it may take is the ability to send text messages to patients via a text-enabled solution. 

Improving Patient Engagement and Satisfaction With Text Messaging

Below are some of the common ways healthcare organizations nationwide are using text messaging, often via two-way texting, to strengthen patient engagement and satisfaction and reap the clinical, financial, and operational rewards. 

Appointment Reminder

Texting is a proven way to reduce cancellations, no-shows, and no-gos (i.e., treatment unable to proceed due to patient non-compliance). Prior to an appointment, organizations are sending text messages, reminding patients about their scheduled appointment and including key details such as the time of the appointment and facility address. 

Organizations are also using texting to ask patients to confirm their appointment and if patients have any questions or concerns. If patients need to cancel, follow-up texts are helping with rescheduling.

Pre-Screening Questionnaire 

Text messaging is helping providers streamline the completion of pre-screening questionnaires. For short questionnaires, text messages can ask the required question(s). When a questionnaire requires patients to complete a longer form, organizations are sending hyperlinks via text that direct patients to online forms.

Recall Campaigns

Organizations are making text messaging the communication backbone for their recall programs (e.g., annual physicals, Medicare annual wellness visits, colonoscopies, mammograms) and other routine preventive care. Reminder text messages are helping organizations improve recall rates and grow volume while also ensuring patients receive the preventive services that keep them healthier.

Telehealth

For those growing number of organizations with telehealth programs, texting is reminding patients about their appointments, providing pre-appointment instructions about what’s required for the telehealth appointment (e.g., stable Internet connection, installation of a videotelephony program), and including hyperlinks that, when clicked, initiate the virtual consultation. 

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Texting is proving to be a highly efficient and effective way to conduct patient satisfaction surveys, including Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. In fact, one study of how text messaging can be used to improve communication and engagement with patients showed that more than 4 out of every 5 patients are willing to take satisfaction surveys via text. 

When patients respond to a satisfaction survey with a low rating, organizations are sending follow-up texts asking these patients to explain what they found disappointing about their experience and if they would like to speak with a representative about their dissatisfaction. Interest in learning about a patient’s negative experience is helping improve operations while reducing the likelihood that patients will leave poor online reviews.

Online Reputation

Speaking of online reviews, online reputation has taken on significant importance in recent years. A study that included approximately 1,800 patients found that over 95% of the patient population consider online reviews critical for their decision-making process, with 40% of the patients unwilling to go to providers that have bad reviews. Texting is giving organizations a simple, streamlined, non-intrusive means of asking patients to post online reviews. Texts are being sent that provide links to online review platforms and encourage patients to take a moment to share their thoughts.

Caretaker Coordination

Organizations are using texting, including automated messaging, to provide caretakers and loved ones with real-time patient progress updates, which is especially helpful when patients are undergoing surgery or receiving treatment that will take considerable time. Text messaging is also being used to inform caretakers, loved ones, and transportation providers when patients are ready for discharge and provide instructions on where drivers should go to pick up patients after discharge is completed.

Post-Discharge Communications

Organizations are relying more on text messaging for post-discharge communication with patients. Texting is helping identify those patients who require or desire a phone call and better ensure patients answer the phone when a post-appointment call is made. By strengthening post-discharge patient engagement, organizations are reducing readmissions and better avoiding penalties associated with high readmissions.

The Easy, Highly Effective Way to Engage

The examples of how healthcare organizations are using text messaging identified above represent just a few of the ways texting is making a substantial, positive impact on patient engagement and satisfaction. Providers are improving when and why they are engaging with patients, taking better advantage of what is learned through these efforts, and strengthening their bottom line. Adding a text-enabled solution and leveraging text messaging as a communication mechanism is typically easy and fast, requiring a minimal learning curve. Organizations that add text messaging or expand their reliance upon it are often finding it’s the patient engagement tool they’ve been missing.

Incorporating Big Data & Medical Records to Improve Healthcare Safety

Incorporating Big Data & Medical Records to Improve Healthcare Safety

Data isn’t the uncomfortable word it used to be. People are still wary about putting their information out there, but as technology shows the world what I can do, people become less concerned with stopping big brother, and more concerned with taming him. 

Certainly, this is the case with healthcare where properly implemented data can improve outcomes and make things safer. In this article, we take a look at the value of incorporating big data within our healthcare system. 

Incorporating Big Data & Medical Records to Improve Healthcare Safety

A Simple Breakdown

The simple feature of big data implementation in healthcare (simple being a relative word) is that it allows healthcare systems to better understand the needs of their community. For example, some communities may have higher rates of heart disease or respiratory illness that are brought on by environmental factors. 

Without data, any understanding of this concept will be purely anecdotal. With the right tools, however, the healthcare system can get a much more granular understanding of what’s going on and why. Are the instances of respiratory illness concentrated amongst members of a particular age group?

Or maybe there is a geographical correlation. People living near the paper processing plant. Hospitals can take that information and use it to develop community outreach plans most likely to have a high impact. 

Data During the Pandemic

When it comes to public health issues, nothing can top the pandemic. Not only did hospitals have an impossibly high influx of patients but they were also working at a reduced capacity. They didn’t have the equipment they needed to treat everyone. Not enough PPE. Not enough respirators. Not even enough beds. 

Not only that but they were also short-staffed — first by viral surges. Nurses and doctors working in close proximity to Covid patients inevitably contracted the infection themselves. This put them out for up to two weeks. 

Then there was the job migration — people leaving en masse, possibly in response to the crazy conditions they were being forced to work in. Hospitals still had to achieve a high standard of patient outcomes, but now they were doing it with shockingly limited resources. 

During all this craziness, data was there to lend a hand.

Data could be used to predict viral surges. Spikes in one part of the country often led to spikes in another. Through good data implementation practices, hospitals could see these surges coming and button down the hatches accordingly. 

The worst of the pandemic is most likely behind us, but the efficacy of this technology remains. Data allows hospitals to create bespoke strategies at the turn of a dime to address whatever situation they might be facing. 

Improving Patient Outcomes

Data implementation can be used to improve patient outcomes in many different ways. On the macro level, it just provides much larger swaths of information from which to derive patterns and form insights. General advice suddenly becomes significantly more specific. 

For example, a wellness checkup may previously have yielded the recommendations of more exercise and less fatty food. Using more granular data points, the physician can recommend specific foods to patients who meet the right criteria. 

Then there is data implementation at the personal level. Everyone generates data constantly. That’s to say that they behave in patterns too large and obscure to be gleaned by the naked eye. With analytic technology, that’s all changed. 

Data points like heart rate, blood pressure, and even glucose levels can be monitored around the clock. This can be used to issue very immediate care in certain situations. For example, a patient wearing a heart monitor will often benefit from technology that sends their readings directly to their physicians, and possibly even the company that made the device. 

This means that if the device logs an irregularity, that report is immediately sent out to at least two places, immediately increasing the odds that they will receive help. In certain situations, this alone can be lifesaving. 

Even in non-emergency situations, it’s very useful. That same heart monitor or blood pressure cuff that saves lives can also be used to track them with more depth and detail than any take-home wearables previously known to the world of western medicine. 

These data points allow doctors to take an in-depth look at their patient’s health records, compare them to those of other people within their demographic, and use that information to make tailored courses of treatment. 

Even Fitbits can play their part, serving as an affordable way for patients to monitor their vitals and make and maintain fitness goals. 

The Dangers of Data

None of this is to say that there aren’t dangers associated with robust medical data. Healthcare systems are constant targets for cyber terrorists and criminals. Bad actors who hack into systems and extract information either for financial gain or to create fear and civil unrest. 

And not all data breaches are born of malicious intent. Some can happen through things as common and innocuous as human error. An administrator opens a bad link, or logs onto the wrong website. A patient loses a phone with important health-related records. 

A small mistake happens, and big ramifications follow. Hospitals and patients alike can avoid these scenarios by practicing due diligence. Use good password hygiene. Be mindful of the websites they use, and generally keep data security at the forefront of their minds when they are using digital technology. Many hospitals are mitigating medical identity theft cases by using touchless patient identification platforms like RightPatient. The platform uses patient photos to identify and verify patients, thus, stopping bad actors who impersonate patients and preventing medical identity theft cases.  

It’s an ongoing struggle to be sure but the results are well worth it. Reduced risk, more efficient hospitals, and better patient outcomes. 

Conclusion

Remember that data implementation as we now understand it is more or less in its infancy. Even today, only a very small percentage of data is tamed and comprehensible. As the tech improves, this will change. Patterns will become easier to detect, and outcomes will only improve. 

In the meantime, it’s important to get the data right. Invest in the technology, practice security, and continue using the data to improve hospital management and safety.