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Electronic Medical Record Errors Are Preventable with Positive Patient Identification

We’ve been talking about several topics such as medical identity theft, duplicate medical records, COVID-19, revenue cycle management, data breaches, and more. However, the one point we keep coming back to is electronic medical record errors. This has been a cause of concern among healthcare providers and patients, but it doesn’t end there. The consequences of medical record errors extend to insurance providers, healthcare staff members, physicians, and even the patients’ family members!

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What many fail to grasp is that most of these errors are not caused by the EHR systems themselves, but are caused by external factors. One of the foremost reasons is that there’s no effective, standardized patient identifier present. This alone leads to medical record mix-ups, duplicates, and other errors – more on that later.

Let’s take a look at EHR error statistics, the consequences caused by them, and how positive patient identification can mitigate them.

Statistics regarding electronic medical record errors

A recent study focused on the frequency and types of EHR issues perceived by patients which shed light on a number of insightful statistics. Over 136,000 patients received the invitation to participate, and over 29,000 patients responded. 22,889 viewed 1 or more notes within one year. Out of these 22,889 patients, 21% (4,830) of them witnessed mistakes. Out of these 4,830 patients, 43% said that the mistakes were serious, 32.4% said that it was somewhat serious, and 9.9% said that it was very serious.

When asked about what kind of issues they saw within their EHRs, the most common response was diagnosis errors. For instance, many saw that a disease they didn’t have was listed in the EHR! Can you imagine the consequences of this? 

Others witnessed wrong medical history, medication errors, and so on.

Most of these issues, if not all of them, can be traced back to the lack of accurate patient identification – let’s see how. 

How patient misidentification creates electronic medical record errors

It’s quite simple – since there’s no effective and standardized patient identifier present in the U.S. healthcare system, EHR issues are bound to occur. An EHR system houses thousands and can even hold millions of medical records. It’s quite natural to have many patients with the same name, especially if it’s a common one.

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Now, if a patient named “James Smith” turns up, the EHR user will see that there are several medical records associated with the same name. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that the patient’s record is under the same name – it might be saved as “Jim Smith”.

Also, most EHRs provide basic search functionality, and with the registration area being a high-pressure environment, the EHR user needs to select the appropriate medical record quickly. If the hospital isn’t using an effective patient identifier, the registrar either creates an entirely new medical record or chooses the wrong one – creating the potential for medical record errors. 

While that’s how patient misidentification and electronic medical record errors are related, let’s take a look at some of the consequences.

Consequences of EHR errors and patient misidentification

EHR errors, bolstered by inaccurate patient identification:

  • Increase duplicates and overlays within the EHR system
  • Jeopardize patient safety
  • Hamper patient data integrity
  • Lead to patient record mix-ups
  • Create medication administration errors
  • Increase denied claims
  • Cause patients to go through repeated lab tests
  • Increase hospital readmissions
  • Create detrimental patient outcomes 

It’s not very surprising that patient identification errors have been occurring for a long time, and only a handful of healthcare providers have been proactive regarding preventing such issues within their facilities. These responsible healthcare providers have been using RightPatient to prevent such issues by ensuring accurate patient identification.

RightPatient ensures positive patient identification

RightPatient is the number one choice of leading healthcare providers – they’ve been using our touchless biometric patient identification platform to protect millions of patient records. 

RightPatient is easy to use and becomes a part of the EHR workflow. During registration, the platform requires patients to simply look at the camera – the platform takes a photo of the patient and essentially “locks” the EHR with it. Already registered patients then only need to look at the camera – RightPatient runs a search to match the live photo with the saved one – it’s that easy!

RightPatient has a vast amount of experience with several diverse hospitals, making it a clear choice to ensure accurate patient identification, prevent medical record errors, and more.

Are YOU preventing medical record errors successfully at your healthcare facility?

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Protection of Medical Records is Critical as Data Breaches Appear Unstoppable

Healthcare data breaches are nothing new, especially in the U.S. Even before the pandemic, data breaches were common among hospitals, and why wouldn’t they be? With hackers selling one stolen medical record for up to $1000, medical records can be a lucrative business. However, since the pandemic, data breaches have become significantly more common. But there are some factors to consider in this context. For instance, because of the pandemic, healthcare providers understandably had a lot on their hands – a surge of COVID-19 patients, adapting to the rapidly changing environment, setting up virtual healthcare, and so on. Hackers took advantage of this situation and focused their attacks on healthcare facilities. Let’s look at the problem, explore why it is still occurring, and determine how the protection of medical records IS possible with positive patient identification.

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Recent data breaches show the importance of protecting medical records

Cyberattack forces a hospital to go back to analog methods! 

That’s not a piece of news we hear every day, is it? Well, the information of a whopping 1.4 million patients was exposed due to an incident back in June at St. Joseph’s/Candler. After detecting suspicious activity, the health system decided to shut down the IT systems, using paper documentation to mitigate the effects of the attack. However, things are better now, as their IT systems have been mostly restored. 

Information of more than 637,000 patients exposed

The attack led to unauthorized individual(s) accessing New Mexico Health’s network, compromising information for more than 637,000 patients. Names, addresses, birthdates, health insurance information, medical record numbers, were among the data accessed by the unauthorized party. The health system has been providing complimentary services to the affected patients after notifying them of the attack. 

All of this goes to show how important the protection of medical records is, especially if hospitals want to avoid huge losses in addition to those caused by the pandemic. Fortunately, RightPatient can prevent fraudsters from tampering with EHRs and even prevent medical identity theft in real-time – more on that later. For now, let’s see why data breaches are still occurring. 

Why do hospitals fail with the protection of medical records? 

There are quite a few reasons why data breaches still wreak havoc across healthcare facilities. 

Firstly, most healthcare facilities have extremely backdated security solutions or very basic (not robust) modern solutions.

Secondly, their IT infrastructure is outdated – and security relies on good IT infrastructure. 

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Thirdly, most facilities have not updated their systems in view of the recent data breaches. In other words, they don’t learn from the mistakes of others. 

There are, however, other external factors that limit the effectiveness of cybersecurity teams. The biggest issue they face is budgetary – generally, cybersecurity receives a very meager portion of the hospital’s budget. Thus, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t ramp up their cybersecurity measures. 

Moreover, hackers are coming up with new and innovative ways to steal patient information and disrupt hospital operations. As previously mentioned, hospitals and health systems are prime targets because hackers get significant amounts of money by stealing patient information and selling it on the black market. 

All in all, healthcare providers cannot be blamed entirely for becoming targets of data breaches – there are both external and internal forces that make them inevitable.

However, while data breaches are inevitable and seemingly unstoppable, their most common consequence, medical identity theft, IS preventable. 

RightPatient ensures the protection of medical records

There are several reasons why RightPatient is the leading touchless biometric patient identification platform. It ensures accurate identification of registered patients at all times. The platform is extremely easy to use for both patients and hospital employees – it becomes part of the EHR workflow. RightPatient is also safe, hygienic, and prevents HAIs (hospital-acquired infections), as it is touchless. However, it also prevents medical identity theft in real-time. 

When fraudsters attempt to pass themselves off as patients, RightPatient will establish that the fraudster does not match any saved medical records, simply by using the face – thus preventing medical identity theft. 

Several healthcare providers have added millions to their bottom line thanks to RightPatient. When will YOU make the move to the leading touchless patient ID platform?

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Improving Patient Safety in Virtual & In-Person Visits is a Must as COVID Cases Spike

While it seemed like the pandemic was waning in the U.S., it looks like it’s far from over. Unfortunately, the delta variant is here to wreak havoc once again – just look at the current scenario of the COVID-19 spikes across the states. The delta variant has even forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its guidance on wearing masks. CDC has once again asked even fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks, a decision that has sparked backlash and confusion among the general public. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the current situation, what hospitals are doing now, and how improving patient safety during patient visits (both in-person and virtual) is crucial – something that RightPatient can help with.

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COVID cases are increasing once again

Florida has seen a huge spike – over 21,000 cases in a single day, and this is the highest since the pandemic! Earlier, the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day was slightly over 19,000 for the state.

Florida has also set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations – around 10,207 patients who were infected with the notorious virus. The previous record of the state was 10,170 patients per day.

Moreover, in San Fransico, around 233 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19, most of who were fully vaccinated. 

In Massachusetts, there was a new surge of COVID-19 patients, and almost three-fourths of them were fully vaccinated! 

Vaccinations are increasing too, fortunately!

Amongst all of the havoc caused by this new COVID-19 surge, vaccinations are fortunately increasing too. Around 800,000 people were vaccinated on July 25th – the highest doses in a single day in weeks. 

How are hospitals responding?

Hospitals, especially in the U.S., never seem to catch a break, do they? 

Well, many hospitals, if not all, are facing an increased number of patients – both COVID-19 and otherwise. Unfortunately, the non-COVID-19 cases are due to COVID-19 itself, ironically. These are the patients who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get healthcare services since the pandemic began. 

For instance, according to an official at Stanford Healthcare, they are completely full and are “outstripping” beds every day. These include both COVID and non-COVID cases. However, the non-COVID-19 ones need urgent care as they are quite ill. They delayed elective procedures themselves, or their dates were pushed back, due to, you guessed it, the pandemic.

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Many hospitals, as a result, are once again, working hard towards improving patient safety. Healthcare providers are either postponing or reducing non-emergency and elective surgeries at their facilities. Others are changing their visitation policies, such as restricting in-person patient visitors (barring exceptional cases), allowing virtual visits, minimizing patient visitors, and so on. 

As for providing healthcare services, the pandemic already showed how telehealth can be used to care for non-COVID-19 patients – the latter can just be in their homes and avail healthcare services. In fact, many healthcare providers are incentivizing patients for using telehealth during the surge. Lee Health, for instance, is waiving its charges for certain virtual visits. 

However, the doors are still open for critical non-COVID-19 patients, and for improving patient safety, hospitals need to implement strategies that eliminate physical contact, prevent infection control issues, and improve patient outcomes

RightPatient can help with all of that, fortunately.

Improving patient safety with RightPatient

RightPatient is the leading touchless biometric patient ID platform used by several healthcare providers. However, other than ensuring positive patient identification, using RightPatient benefits hospitals and patients in several ways.

RightPatient is perfect for the post-pandemic world as it identifies patients accurately safely and hygienically.

For appointment scheduling and virtual visits, patients only need to provide a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license during the registration process – RightPatient does the rest. For in-person visits, patients only need to look at the camera during the registration or verification process.

All of this ensures that the accurate medical record is selected every time, all without requiring the patient to touch any screens or devices – reducing infection control issues.

RightPatient also ensures that accurate information is fed into the appropriate EHRs each time – boosting patient data integrity, improving patient outcomes, and more. 

RightPatient ensures accurate patient identification, is touchless, improves patient outcomes, prevents patient safety incidents, and reduces infection control issues for everyone in the facilities.

How are YOU improving patient safety at your healthcare facility?

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How to Protect Patient Information as Data Breaches Become a Topmost Concern

We’ve talked about data breaches in hospitals and health systems more times than we can count. Unfortunately, these unwanted incidents just keep on happening, and even when the pandemic was at its peak, hackers didn’t stop. Thus, it isn’t a surprise that many healthcare executives are wary about cyberthreats that loom in the dark, just biding their time and waiting to attack more hospitals and steal patient information. That being said, let’s take a look at some recent cyberthreats faced by hospitals, what healthcare execs are saying, and how to protect patient information even if there is a data breach.

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Most healthcare experts are worried about cyber threats

Let’s take a look at some of the recent worrying trends in health IT, according to some respected healthcare executives. 

Half of them stated that the frequency of cyber-attacks on healthcare facilities is one of their primary concerns now – let’s explore the issue in detail.

Out of these execs, one of them expects that this will continue to be a huge problem for the foreseeable future – a worrying but accurate prediction, unfortunately.

Another exec stated that such cyber-attacks put patient data, arguably one of the most sensitive pieces of information available within hospitals, at huge risk. We’re inclined to agree, as most data breaches end up with hackers stealing patient information and selling it to fraudsters who commit medical identity theft down the line. Many caregivers, as a result, are searching for answers to the billion-dollar question – how to protect patient information. 

Another exec stated that cyberattacks are rapidly evolving as hackers come up with innovative ways to attack and lock or steal patient information – something quite challenging to keep up with.

One of the execs that is worried about cyber-attacks stated that hackers and these issues hinder them from doing their jobs properly, which is to care for their patients. He also stated that effective cybersecurity practices and far more assistance are required to tackle cybersecurity and keep costs in check. 

Another of these execs predicts that more hospitals and health systems will be focused on improving some aspects such as better integration between platforms, patient consumerization, and strategies that help with cybersecurity efforts. 

However, not all healthcare executives chose cyber-attacks as their primary worries.

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Others chose:

  • The boom of startups that give unrealistic expectations, taking up a lot of money from investors.
  • Mergers and acquisitions.
  • Mandates about sharing health information that are quite unclear and might be detrimental.
  • Clinician burnout due to EHR coding, among other issues. 
  • Ensuring equity during telehealth visits.

While all of them are quite valid concerns, the biggest concern is how to protect patient information effectively – healthcare data breaches are occurring as we speak. 

Hospitals must protect patient information effectively as data breaches are rampant

On the 15th of April, a phishing attempt was successful – unauthorized individual(s) got access to login credentials of an employee of Orlando Family Physicians. After a thorough investigation, it was found that three other employee accounts were accessed. While the access has been revoked, over 447,000 patients were exposed, such as names, health insurance data, Social Security numbers, and more. This is just a classic case of data breaches – something that has been repeating itself for several years in many hospitals and health systems.

Fortunately, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, doing something about protecting patient data and preventing medical identity theft IS possible – let’s see how to protect patient information even if there is a data breach. 

How to protect patient information with RightPatient

RightPatient is the leading touchless patient identification platform trusted by responsible hospitals and health systems for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures accurate patient identification starting from appointment scheduling and at any touchpoint across the care continuum. Secondly, it is easy-to-use, safe, and hygienic, as the interactions are contactless – something that is extremely valuable in a post-pandemic world. Thirdly, it protects patient data and blocks fraudsters during identity verification – preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

During the registration process, the patient just needs to look at the camera – the photo taken is attached to their medical record, essentially “locking” it from being meddled with by fraudsters. When the patient returns for future visits, all the patient needs to do is look at the camera – RightPatient automatically runs a search and presents the appropriate EHR when it finds a match between the saved photo and the patient’s live image. Any fraudster attempts will be red-flagged by RightPatient during this process – stopping medical identity theft in its tracks.

How are YOU protecting your patients’ information?

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Denied Medical Claims Are Costly but Preventable with Patient Identification

The U.S. healthcare system is no stranger to problems, unfortunately. In fact, it has been plagued by a plethora of issues for several years. While some of the problems are definitely solvable, external issues alongside other factors cause the problems to continue. Some of the many problems are astronomical prices, the lack of price transparency, interoperability issues, the abundance of data breaches, medical identity theft, and patient safety issues. While we have covered some of these topics at one point or the other, let’s take a look at another crucial problem, denied medical claims, how they are problematic for everyone, and how positive patient identification can prevent them. 

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Denied medical claims are costly and cumbersome for everyone involved

Denied claims are not a recent problem within U.S. healthcare – most hospitals and health systems are quite familiar with them. One can safely say that denied medical claims are quite expensive – an average hospital can lose around $3.5 million due to them. However, denied claims not only affect hospitals but also insurers and patients, albeit in different ways – let’s see how.

Claim denials in a nutshell

In the U.S., healthcare is closely related to reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurers. Patients get health insurance, go to their healthcare provider, get treated, and that’s about it. However, a lot more goes on behind the scenes regarding healthcare reimbursements. 

After providing healthcare services to the patients, the hospital processes the information and sends the claims to the insurance company. While healthcare providers usually get reimbursed by the payer, some of them face expensive hiccups. Due to billing or coding issues, patient identification errors, medical record mix-ups, or other problems, the payer identifies inconsistencies after receiving claims, and they might reject or deny said claims. While some claims can be resubmitted, checking for and fixing the errors is time-consuming, costly, and requires a considerable number of resources. 

All of the above leads to back-and-forth exchanges between care providers and payers. Insurers have to reject claims, caregivers lose out on a significant amount of revenue, and many patients even receive shocking, incorrect bills. However, some even lose healthcare services, especially those associated with Medicaid.

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Let’s take a look at a few statistics to see how Medicaid patients suffer due to denied medical claims. However, do keep in mind that denied claims can be detrimental for any patient. 

A worrying study regarding denied claims

A very recent study has shed light on denied claims and how physicians or hospitals are reluctant to see Medicaid patients due to reimbursement issues. 

According to the study, at least 25% of Medicaid claims have been denied upon initial submission. On the other hand, 7.3% of Medicare claims were denied whereas commercial insurers denied 4.8%.

Moreover, the study also states that around 17% of revenue is lost due to billing problems associated with Medicaid patients, whereas the numbers are quite lower for patients covered by Medicare (5%) and other payers (3%). 

While any type of denied claim is extremely costly, the statistics show that the Medicaid ones are quite problematic. Moreover, since Medicaid is associated with low-income families, reimbursements are lower as well.

All of this just leads to caregivers being reluctant to look after Medicaid patients. 

Denied medical claims are preventable 

One of the topmost priorities of physicians and healthcare providers is to look after the patients, Medicare or otherwise. Instead of worrying about denied claims, hospitals and health systems can work on reducing or eliminating them with the right tools and strategies. 

Fortunately, RightPatient, the industry’s leading touchless biometric patient identification platform, can help reduce denied claims substantially.

Denied and rejected claims typically occur because of billing and coding errors – most of which can be traced back to medical record errors, patient mix-ups, and identification issues. RightPatient eliminates all of that, and more, as it ensures that the accurate information is fed to the correct EHR at all times. As a result, billing and coding errors are drastically reduced and so are denied claims – boosting the bottom line. 

How are YOU reducing denied claims in your healthcare facility?

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Misidentification of Patients Can Cause Deaths – How Are Hospitals Preventing Them?

Unfortunately, misidentification of patients is something that’s still a prominent issue in hospitals and health systems. In fact, just a few weeks ago, there was a patient who received the wrong kidney, which was just one example of the many wrong patient surgery cases. Fortunately, the patient survived but just imagine the implications if the patient didn’t live! Not everyone recovers from patient misidentification mishaps unscratched – some even lose their lives. 

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Although these cases are occurring more frequently, most healthcare providers are responding reactively rather than being proactive and preventing such cases entirely. That being said, let’s take a look at a couple of other patient mix-up cases and how RightPatient is ensuring identity management in healthcare facilities to avoid such cases.

Misidentification of patients – a few more cases

A patient got the wrong medications

This one is an old story but is worth mentioning since it shows the actual dangers of patient misidentification. A patient, Z, had gone in for cancer treatment and the patient mix-up occurred in a busy registration area, something that is quite typical in hospitals. The EHR user was quite new but followed the facility’s rules – she entered the patient’s name according to the driver’s license. Unfortunately, she clicked on the first EHR that appeared without checking the others or inspecting them to see if this was the patient’s medical record or not. She was oblivious to the fact that there can be other patients with the same exact name – something that is quite a common issue.

The patient was given a wristband with the wrong information. Later down the line, the EHR user asked the patient whether it was accurate or not – the patient responded positively. However, during a testimony down the line, the patient said that he wasn’t wearing any glasses to be able to verify it accurately and was actually depending on the hospital to ensure his safety. 

The patient was later sent to a busy area and the nurse asked whether his name was Z or not and also his birthdate – the most common (but unreliable) patient identifiers used. While the patient agreed, a mistake had already been made – as a result, the patient received chemotherapy for an entirely different patient whose name was also Z but had a different D.O.B.

During the same testimony, it was found out that this all happened because of miscommunication – the room was too loud so that the patient couldn’t hear properly, and he also said that the nurse had an accent that was difficult to understand. The nurse, on the other hand, said that the instructions were written as “day 1, day 8”, and she assumed that the patient came in on the scheduled day. All of these problems could’ve been avoided with positive patient identification using RightPatient – more on that later.

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Fortunately, while the patient received the wrong treatment, the side effects were few, although, it was classified as wrong medication administration, something that’s quite common when misidentification of patients occurs.

While patient Z was extremely lucky to have survived, not everyone does – just like the patient in the next case. 

The wrong patient was taken off of life support

This was quite a devastating case – the wrong patient was taken off life support

The patient, Samuel (pseudonym), was apparently admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital and was unconscious. Later down the line, it was detected that due to OD, he was left in a vegetative state and required life support. His sister was contacted, and after a few days, she made the very difficult decision to take her brother off of life support. 

Afterwards, it was identified that it wasn’t actually her brother but a different person entirely! Once again, this is a case of misidentification of patients. When the actual patient was admitted to the ER, the social security card identified him with his actual name (Samuel Richard Jackson). However, the hospital staff chose the medical record of Samuel Jackson, an entirely different patient. While the patient’s fate might have been uncertain, at least the proper family would’ve been notified if the accurate medical record was chosen. 

As can clearly be seen, patient identification errors have severe consequences for everyone involved. The patients receive the wrong medication and treatments, resulting in detrimental healthcare outcomes, hospital readmissions, or even deaths, whereas the healthcare providers face lawsuits, suffer from losses, and lose goodwill. All of this is entirely preventable by ensuring accurate patient identification.

RightPatient eliminates misidentification of patients

RightPatient has been protecting millions of patients in several healthcare facilities with its touchless biometric patient identification platform. During the registration process, it attaches a photo of the patient to their EHR, “locking” them essentially. Even if a patient with the same name or characteristics comes up, the registered patients’ records will be safe, since their faces don’t match. 

By identifying patients accurately right from appointment scheduling, check-in, and beyond, RightPatient eliminates chances of duplicate medical records, overlays, and patient mix-ups.

How are YOU preventing such mix-ups within your healthcare facility?

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The Importance of EHRs Shows Why Medical Record Errors Must be Prevented

When caregivers are asked about the most important tool they have at their disposal to treat their patients, what answers are expected? Some would say their healthcare team, the cutting edge technology/procedures they have access to, the different solutions they have that improve healthcare outcomes, and so on. However, the most underrated and crucial tool is definitely the electronic health records or EHRs. Think of it – where would healthcare be without EHRs? EHRs ensure that the right information regarding the right patient is provided to the right medical team. However, this is applicable only as long as certain issues are prevented, especially medical record errors.

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That being said, let’s take a deeper dive into how EHRs are the most important tool for healthcare providers and why ensuring patient data integrity is a must. 

Healthcare is evolving but the starting point remains the same

Let’s go back to a time before the deadly pandemic. If someone went to a healthcare provider and told them that telehealth would become mainstream in the future, the provider would most likely say that they’re crazy! Look at the reality now – telehealth is still preferred by many, even while users are decreasing due to hospitals opening up. 

Healthcare has been evolving – rapidly in some areas and steadily in others. One certain thing is that healthcare isn’t limited to the four walls of hospitals and health systems anymore – one of the consequences of the pandemic. However, whether it’s in-person visits or virtual ones (telehealth/telemedicine), the foundation for providing care to patients remains the same – EHRs. 

EHRs are more important than most realize 

Patients, caregivers, and others are quite satisfied with telehealth now.

Patients on the younger side have stated that they would like to continue using telehealth even if the national health emergency is over. That’s probably because it’s more convenient, easier, and safer – all the patients need is an internet connection with a communication device. 

Caregivers have a bit more complex process to go through. 

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Caregivers who are providing telehealth services have to consider a lot of factors – the telehealth platform, the portal, the EHR system, identifying the right patient, rules and regulations, ensuring patient safety online, and more. Also, while providing virtual services to the patients, the physicians need to ensure that the necessary information is being fed to the EHRs of the patients accurately – just as they do during an in-person visit. 

The bottom line is that whether the healthcare provider is seeing the patient within their facility or online, the one thing that basically remains constant is the patient’s EHR. However, issues such as medical record errors can mess EHRs up, derailing healthcare outcomes among other things – let’s see how. 

Why it’s crucial to prevent medical record errors

One of the starting points of providing healthcare is the EHR. When the patient interacts with their healthcare provider, usually to schedule an appointment, one of the first things done by the caregiver is pulling up the patient’s EHR. It basically provides the entire medical history, recent lab test results, and other information required to treat the patient. Moreover, any new information captured by the caregiver will be added to the EHR. EHRs, by providing timely, relevant, comprehensive, and accurate information to the physicians, improve healthcare outcomes, optimize healthcare delivery, boost coordinated care, and reduce adverse events. 

Now, imagine if an inaccurate EHR is selected – the consequences can be devastating! 

Medical record errors such as duplicates and overlays lead to patient mix-ups. Patient A’s treatment will be based on patient B’s medical record, leading to detrimental healthcare outcomes, adverse effects, and worse. Patient data within the EHRs becomes unreliable as it is fragmented, erroneous, and inconsistent. 

However, all of this can be prevented with positive patient identification with RightPatient.

RightPatient prevents medical record errors – and more!

By identifying patients correctly right off the bat, RightPatient ensures that accurate, high-quality data is fed to the EHRs every time the patient checks in for a healthcare visit. Patients only need to look at the camera – the touchless biometric patient identification platform does the rest.

With RightPatient, responsible healthcare providers are not only ensuring patient data integrity, but they are also improving patient outcomes, preventing patient safety incidents, and providing optimal healthcare services to patients.

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Another Patient Misidentification Case Shows Why Hospitals Must Prevent It

Patient misidentification strikes again. It’s not surprising at this point, as patient misidentification cases have been occurring frequently in hospitals and health systems. There are a plethora of consequences attached to it, which is why patient safety goals quite frequently have “improving patient identification” listed as one of the top goals to address. That being said, let’s take a look at the patient identification error in detail and how these cases are preventable with a robust patient ID solution. 

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A recent occurrence of patient misidentification, but certainly not the last one

Fortunately, the problem was detected before it caused any patient harm. While the patient, Ronnie (pseudonym), was waiting for a virtual visit, she was trying to convince the medical assistant that she didn’t have the rare condition called hereditary nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia. Ronnie doesn’t know how it got added to her EHR, however, that was not her only concern regarding the matter. As she was trying to get this inaccurate information removed, she experienced a lengthy and tedious process. 

The assistant informed Ronnie that only the person who added the condition can remove it – EHRs are quite sensitive documents, and access to modify them is restricted to only a handful of people. However, the assistant provided the name of the doctor, and the surprise here is that Ronnie had never had any physician by that name. 

The assistant was adamant that Ronnie might have had some encounter she forgot about – for instance, it might have occurred in an ER visit. However, Ronnie never went to the ER and got diagnosed with such a rare condition. She backed up her statement by adding that if she actually had hereditary nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia, she would’ve been informed about it. The assistant just reiterated that the physician has added it. Most probably, this occurred because Ronnie’s EHR was mixed up with some other patient and it was a condition that belongs to another “Ronnie” – a classic case of medical record mix-up caused by wrong patient identification

Unfortunately, the tale doesn’t end here – there’s far more to it. 

Ronnie had to go to extreme lengths to address the problem. As the discussion with the medical assistant got her nowhere, the condition was still present in her EHR. When Ronnie explained it to her physician, the latter tried to remove it but couldn’t, and neither could Ronnie’s other physicians. After trying everything, Ronnie submitted a formal request to modify her EHR – something many patients need to do to resolve patient identification errors.

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We believe that Ronnie’s among the lucky ones – many such cases remain undetected until it’s too late, causing detrimental healthcare outcomes. 

EHRs are beneficial but are bogged down due to patient misidentification

EHRs have a host of benefits and have been helping physicians see everything in one place, improve patient outcomes, and more. However, since EHRs contain sensitive information, editing them to rectify the errors is quite cumbersome – just look at the case above! Moreover, since caregivers have to share with other physicians due to coordinated care, these errors are seen by everyone involved in the patient’s treatment. 

This is just one case, and fortunately, Ronnie was able to identify the issue. As previously mentioned, this might have occurred because of a medical record mix-up – we know, because we’ve heard about numerous cases from hospitals and health systems. Unfortunately, there are thousands of patient identification errors in hospitals that are undetected and cause a plethora of issues – both financial and physical. How do we know so much about patient misidentification? 

Because our touchless biometric patient identification platform, RightPatient, prevents it and helps healthcare providers identify their patients correctly at all times. 

RightPatient ensures accurate patient identification at all touchpoints

RightPatient could have very well prevented the error in this case study – we have prevented such cases in numerous hospitals and have even drastically reduced duplicate record creation. The patients only need to look at the camera – our platform does the rest. During registration, RightPatient takes a photo of the patient and attaches it to the EHR. Whenever the patient comes in, the platform takes another photo and matches it with the saved one – providing an accurate EHR every time. 

RightPatient has been protecting millions of patient records in several hospitals and health systems. It ensures accurate patient identification, prevents medical identity theft in real-time, prevents duplicates and overlays, and more – ensuring positive patient outcomes.

Don’t become a mistaken patient identification story and contact us now to see how we can help you boost your bottom line.

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Ensuring Healthcare Data Quality Boosts Hospitals’ Digital Transformation Efforts

The U.S. healthcare system has always had a complex relationship with technology, to say the least. While it has always been open to ideas that can transform healthcare, there have been certain impediments. For instance, the concept of a unique patient identifier is around two decades old, but due to many concerns, one doesn’t exist yet. As a result, healthcare providers are either struggling with patient identification errors or are using a robust patient identification platform to resolve the issues. Moreover, new research demonstrates the complex relationship between healthcare and technology – healthcare is lagging behind other industries in terms of digital transformation. Let’s take a closer look at the study, why some are reluctant to pursue digital transformation, and how ensuring healthcare data quality can boost digital transformation, among other things. 

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Some stats regarding digital transformation

The study was conducted with over 300 C-level executives, and while it includes a variety of industries, it also compares healthcare with the others, providing a different perspective.

Overall, a whopping 82% of the respondents from all industries stated that data quality is a barrier to data integration. This falls in line with the problems faced in U.S. hospitals and health systems – healthcare data quality can be inconsistent and problematic. 

Healthcare was found to be comparable to financial services and the telecommunications industry in digital transformation – most of the respondents from these organizations stated that they were witnessing success rates of around 60%. While this number might be encouraging to some, healthcare lags behind organizations such as software and tech companies, who naturally are advanced in digital transformation, as well as transportation and logistics firms.

While different industries were surveyed, some commonalities show digital transformation exists as a common problem between them. For instance, around 80% of respondents stated that they found “enriching” existing data quite difficult, impeding the quest to find new insights or meaningful patterns. This is also an issue seen in hospitals and health systems, as ensuring healthcare data quality can be a considerable challenge for many – something which is preventable with proper patient identity management – more on that later. 

Healthcare data quality issues also lead to losing time and resources as data needs to be rectified for usage. The survey also reflected this issue – around 40% of the respondents stated that their data teams have to spend time to clean the data, time which they could’ve spent doing something more productive, as data quality issues should not exist in the first place. 

Healthcare data quality issues have a long history

It’s no secret that patient misidentification is a crucial issue in health systems and hospitals, and it leads to patient data integrity failure. Just imagine that a patient named Sam Jackson comes to the hospital and is assigned the medical record with the name “Sam Jackson”. However, the EHR actually belongs to a different Sam Jackson! The modified EHR will be full of errors and will be unusable and dangerous for both the Sams.

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Such problems have been going on for a long, long time, leading to patient data quality issues, medication errors, wrong treatments, detrimental healthcare outcomes, readmissions, and more.

High-quality patient data is a must

Hospitals and health systems have been investing considerable money and resources in population health management, big data, analytics, and other projects that can transform healthcare for their patients in a variety of ways. However, the only way these efforts can work is if they have access to patient data that is complete, accurate, timely, and relevant. Unfortunately, when patient data is corrupted because of duplicate and overlay records from identification issues, these investments are diluted and affect ROI, patient safety, and healthcare outcomes.

Digital transformation in healthcare, as a result, requires high-quality patient data, and everything depends on identifying the accurate patient record right from the start – something which RightPatient is built for. 

RightPatient ensures patient data integrity 

RightPatient has been ensuring patient data integrity for several hospitals with its touchless patient identification platform. Registered patients are identified accurately right from the start – all they need to do is look at the camera and the platform provides the right medical record. By ensuring that accurate patient information is fed into EHRs every time, RightPatient ensures that high-quality data is present within the facilities to boost digital transformation efforts and investments – improving patient outcomes and reducing unwanted incidents in the process.

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To Enjoy Advantages of Telemedicine in Healthcare, Providers Must Protect Patients Online

Telemedicine, many times used interchangeably with the word telehealth, has grown tremendously during last year because of COVID-19. Whilst it’s been available for a long time (decades, really), its future was uncertain before now. Healthcare experts mainly debated about the possible advantages of telemedicine in healthcare, while patients were wary regarding online doctor appointments.

Still, because of COVID-19, practically everything is different, and desperate times required drastic measures. Rules enveloping virtual visits got relaxed, so, more providers and their patients got exposed to this new phenomenon called telehealth. 

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Online appointments currently have numerous supporters 

The user base for telehealth has soared, with numerous healthcare professionals and their patients supporting it and saying they want it to be a permanent part of healthcare after the emergency is over. It was also extremely helpful and convenient throughout the pandemic. That being said, let’s look closer and examine the advantages of telemedicine in healthcare plus the way providers can safeguard their patients throughout these appointments. 

A few advantages of telemedicine in healthcare

Telemedicine is cost-efficient for all

The universal understanding regarding virtual healthcare is that it is less expensive than in-person visits. Plus, it saves time, no need to travel to use it, etc. Whilst that’s correct, online healthcare is also less expensive for healthcare providers. Think about it – for most online appointments, all the provider requires is an online platform, the proper devices to connect with their patients, plus a steady, secure online connection. These types of appointments get rid of a lot of the costs linked with traditional healthcare – i.e. registration desks, using paper products, fewer staff members required, etc.

The AHA (American Hospital Association) even agrees with the aforementioned – online healthcare saved over 11% of costs for many hospitals

Online appointments provide access to many more patients 

Even the toughest critics can’t refute the fact that telehealth offers top-notch care to many more patients than in-person appointments. Consider how it worked before COVID-19 – the majority of patients in rural areas were unable to get to a suitable hospital for several reasons.

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An example of one of the top advantages of telemedicine in healthcare is that one can use it from any place – so it’s quite convenient for those who live in rural areas. Whilst a tiny amount of providers offered online appointments prior to the pandemic for rural patients, the pandemic showed how helpful telehealth can be for routine patients too. Online appointments assisted in providing top-notch care to a huge number of patients who had various problems – a lot still use this and the experts want it to become a permanent option for healthcare. 

Telemedicine fits more people’s needs

Preventive medicine, improved quality, superior scheduling experiences – online appointments can meet all those things and even more! 

Numerous experts say because patients are more involved with telehealth appointments than with in-person appointments, the former could encourage more preventive medicine usage. Patients, likewise, feel that they are getting more personalized care with telehealth appointments since they report during in-person appointments that their physicians do not even look at them – only at their computer screens. These cases, along with other factors, might cause a surge of usage that helps to improve healthcare outcomes in the future. 

Online appointments offer a superior quality of care for a lot of patients, particularly rural ones, as described earlier. With online appointments, patients can pick which provider they want, and they can even be miles away and still get one that meets their precise healthcare needs. 

Finally, with online appointments, patients can merely pick the timeframe that works best for them, so, scheduling is easy. Whilst that also can happen with regular in-person appointments, the patient now doesn’t have to wait hours or longer to see their doctor, all they have to do is log in at their appointment time and see their doctor.

Still, whilst telehealth has a huge possibility, it remains pretty new, so several challenges have to be solved – one is protecting patient information online. 

Providers have to safeguard their patients online to enjoy the advantages of telemedicine

Patient records and data are very sensitive information, which is one of the dominant reasons most data breaches occur in the healthcare industry. Hackers can sell a medical record for thousands of dollars on the black market, and the scammers then buy them and use them to get healthcare and the actual patient is charged with the bills. While this normally happens in traditional in-person appointments, a lot of experts believe it can also occur in online appointments, so, the healthcare providers have to safeguard their patients’ information while they are in an online appointment too. 

Luckily, RightPatient comes with lots of great experience in protecting patient data as well as avoiding medical identity theft in real-time.

One of the top touchless patient ID platforms utilized by many healthcare providers, RightPatient detects patients via facial recognition and averts scammers from trying to pass as the real patient during the registration process and beyond.

RightPatient can be used during telehealth appointments – so it is perfect for protecting your patient’s information as well as stopping identity theft during virtual visits. Patients only need to take a picture of themselves and a picture ID like their driver’s license – RightPatient takes it from there. 

Is your facility ready to safeguard your patients’ info and stop medical identity theft in real-time?