How-to-Protect-Patient-Data-with-RightPatient

How to Protect Patient Data at Your Hospital

The U.S. healthcare system has never had a shortage of problems – it has always dealt with several issues simultaneously. The exorbitant prices, the lack of price transparency, medical identity theft cases, lack of patient identification in hospitals, preventable medical errors, and archaic laws are just some issues that plague healthcare. Healthcare data breaches have unfortunately been growing at an exponential rate. With no signs of them stopping anytime soon, it becomes crucial that healthcare providers, professionals, and everyone involved with patient information be vigilant regarding protecting the data. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to protect patient data within hospitals and health systems with 5 practices. 

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Why protecting patient data is becoming so important

Those who are familiar with the U.S. healthcare system know that data breaches are occurring left, right, and center. These data breaches have several grave consequences such as patient information being stolen, being sold in the black market, being used for medical identity theft, patient data integrity failure, litigation costs, loss of goodwill – the list just goes on. And all of this might occur simply because a healthcare staff member opened an external email without being wary of the possible risks. 

As a result, healthcare professionals and facilities need to be on guard at all times against such cyberattacks so that they don’t lead to data breaches, disruption of operations, or the most common endgame – medical identity theft.

With the “why” out of the way, let’s dive into the “how”, to be more precise, how to protect patient data.

How to protect patient data with 5 practices

Work on HIPAA compliance

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, mandates that healthcare providers along with anyone else dealing with patient information protect patient information effectively at all times. It provides many rules and regulations that cover a lot of aspects, and if applicable organizations aren’t ensuring compliance, then they’ll be heavily penalized. 

However, working on HIPAA compliance just for the sake of avoiding penalties won’t help. HIPAA provides several guidelines on how to protect patient data at rest and during transmission. If these guidelines are taken as starting points, not only will HIPAA compliance be ensured, but patient data will also be protected – reducing chances of data breaches. There are even solutions such as HIPAA compliance software that can also aid in compliance – helping identify security gaps and reducing the administrative burden in the process.

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Improve user authentication practices

Patient data can be breached from anywhere, and with many healthcare staff working remotely, the risks are just increasing. Putting safeguards in place that enforce limited access to everyone that deals with patient information can slow down breaches. This way, even if the hacker has access to the employee’s account, they will only have restricted access to sensitive information.

Always encrypt sensitive information 

Encrypting sensitive information makes it useless for hackers – it makes the information unreadable by outsiders or unauthorized users. Enforce employees’ use of encryption whenever transmitting sensitive patient information.

Provide training on patient data security whenever required

Too many training sessions on patient information security can be ineffective and counterproductive, and too few can reduce its importance. Instead, find the sweet spot for your organization to provide training sessions regarding patient information security.

For instance, whenever there’s news about another data breach that can provide meaningful information, conducting a training session and disseminating the information to the employees can help – learning from others’ mistakes might just be the thing that will prevent a data breach. Also, regularly provide updates on how to handle external emails and requests – the safest bet is treating each email as a suspicious one.

Implement solutions that protect patient data

Several constraints prohibit healthcare providers from fully being protected against data breaches – cybersecurity budgets and hackers coming up with innovative ways to attack being the most common ones. However, while data breaches might seem inevitable for many, patient data can be protected, but how?

RightPatient is the answer.

It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that prevents medical identity theft in real-time. By ensuring accurate patient identification, RightPatient successfully red-flags fraudsters during the registration process. This prevents fraudsters from tampering with the EHRs, ensuring patient data integrity, and protecting patient data in the process. 

How are you protecting patient data at your healthcare facility?

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4 Promising Health IT Practices That Improve Patient Outcomes

The pandemic, when it hit the U.S., spurred its healthcare providers to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape it forced on everyone. Hospitals and health systems had to search, come up with, and implement drastically different practices that many experts thought weren’t possible. Just look at telehealth – its future was quite uncertain. However, during the pandemic, both its popularity and usage skyrocketed as hospitals and health systems relied on it to provide care to non-critical patients without risking the latter’s safety. That’s just one example – there are similar promising health IT practices that are trending and set to grow in the future and improve patient outcomes in the process. Let’s take a detailed look at some of the more popular health IT practices that can improve quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

4 trending health IT practices that help improve patient outcomes

The increased role of IT teams

As the pandemic forced healthcare providers to switch from in-person visits to virtual ones, implement practices to aid remote work, and ensure that data management is accurate, it was the IT teams’ responsibility to ensure that everything went smoothly. Moreover, cybersecurity attacks were higher than ever since providers already had their hands full.

CIOs and their IT teams not only had their hands full during the pandemic but they also had added responsibilities and expanded roles to play. As COVID-19 cases are decreasing, healthcare providers are aiming for a different approach to providing better and safer healthcare services to improve patient outcomes in the process. As a result, CIOs and relevant IT personnel are in huge demand.

Talking about cybersecurity, let’s move on to the next point.

A much-needed focus on ramping up cybersecurity

As previously mentioned, hackers had upped their game last year. While many hackers had promised not to attack healthcare due to the unprecedented crisis, not all hackers shared the same sentiments. Unfortunately, many of them did attack while healthcare providers had their hands full with COVID-19 cases. This not only led to them stealing patient information and selling it to fraudsters on the dark web, but many incidents also disrupted healthcare operations. In fact, the IT systems of many hospitals were rendered unresponsive or slow as the information within the systems was locked and not available for use.

So, what did healthcare providers do to mitigate the issues? 

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Well, many of the hospitals saw what their contemporaries were going through and opted for better cybersecurity practices. While getting a new cybersecurity solution includes several impediments, hospitals opted for simpler solutions. For instance, many had cut off access to external emails whereas others focused on stricter screening of external emails. 

However, while data breaches seem inevitable and as most caregivers cannot upgrade their cybersecurity solutions due to various reasons, they CAN prevent the endgame of most data breaches – medical identity theft. For instance, RightPatient prevents medical identity theft in real-time by identifying fraudsters during the registration process. The patient identification platform can prevent fraudsters from accessing services even if the data is breached, reducing litigation costs. 

With cybersecurity attacks at an all-time high, it looks like healthcare providers are thankfully changing their approach and are working to rectify security gaps by providing better training to employees regarding cybersecurity practices, going for a proactive approach rather than a reactive one, and by hiring competent security professionals – helping enhance patient outcomes in the process. 

Expanded telehealth usage

Is the rapid growth of telehealth even surprising at this point? 

Before the pandemic, telehealth didn’t have a bright future. Apparently, it has been around for a long time, but experts were busy talking about its demerits, patients were wary of it, and there was a lack of consistent interest. As a result, telehealth was collecting dust, figuratively speaking. However, the pandemic changed everything – it showed how useful telehealth was. As regulations were relaxed around telehealth, it helped reach more patients and provide care to the non-critical ones, rapidly expanding its userbase.

Telehealth was one of the most trending health IT topics last year, and it still is reigning, as many actually prefer telehealth over in-person visits now and have said they will continue to use it even after the public health emergency is over.

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Many healthcare providers, as a result, are going for a hybrid approach. They are planning to offer both in-person and virtual care, providing the best of both worlds to their patients. Not only will this help increase patient satisfaction, but it will also speed up processes and keep the patient volume down during in-person visits, something that’s quite necessary as the pandemic is not over yet, helping improve patient outcomes.

Utilizing contactless solutions can improve patient outcomes

There’s always been growing interest in contactless solutions for any given industry, but the pandemic has pushed it to the forefront – virtually everyone knows the risks of physical contact now. Therefore, many are developing contactless solutions for healthcare facilities that can reduce hospital-acquired infections and improve patient safety. However, did you know that such a solution has been in use for several years in many hospitals and health systems?

RightPatient, our touchless biometric patient identification platform, has been serving several healthcare providers for years, and it only requires patients to look at the camera. The platform does the rest and provides the accurate EHR to the registrar – improving patient safety, preventing duplicates and overlays, and reducing medical errors in the process. As previously mentioned, it also helps prevent medical ID theft in real-time by red-flagging fraudsters during the registration process.

That was just an example of how a touchless solution has been transforming patient safety in several ways – there are more solutions on the way that can improve patient outcomes and boost the bottom lines in the process.

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Hospitals that Identify Patients Correctly Enjoy Several Benefits

We typically talk about grave situations – stories of patient mix-ups, healthcare data breaches, medical identity theft cases, denied claims, and more. However, this time, we will look at the more positive aspects – the additional benefits that healthcare providers who identify patients correctly enjoy. These range from preventing unwanted patient safety incidents within the premises to enhancing patient outcomes.

However, did you know that our touchless biometric patient identification platform can provide far more benefits? More on that later – let’s dive deep into the topmost benefits of ensuring proper patient identification in hospitals.

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Why hospitals must identify patients correctly 

Well, in order to understand that, first, one must understand why patient identification is such a big deal. For starters, patient identification is quite problematic in the U.S. healthcare system for several reasons. Since no effective standardized patient identifier has ever been implemented in the U.S., healthcare providers use different methods, solutions, or strategies to verify their patients, and most of them suffer from patient identification errors and the consequences that follow.

Fortunately, responsible healthcare providers don’t have to suffer from these issues because they have made patient safety their number one priority. These providers are utilizing effective solutions like RightPatient to eliminate errors by helping them identify patients correctly. 

So, what are the benefits of accurately identifying patients? 

Top benefits enjoyed by hospitals that identify patients correctly

Prevents fraudulent cases right from the start

Although wrong patient identification and medical identity theft are both crucial issues of the U.S. healthcare system, many don’t know that preventing the former can also prevent the latter.

It’s quite simple – since there’s no standardized and rigid way to identify patients accurately in most hospitals, fraudsters aren’t identified right off the bat. In fact, many medical identity theft cases remain undetected until the patient receives a shocking bill or notices anomalies with their EHRs. 

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Hospitals that identify patients correctly can prevent medical identity theft in real-time. When the fraudster comes in, proper patient identification will help officials flag them and catch them red-handed.

This is also applicable even in the case of data breaches. Even if healthcare data is breached, accurate identification will lead to fraudsters being caught in the act, preventing medical identity theft and reducing substantial expenses of rectifying medical record errors and litigation costs down the line.

Prevents expensive and dangerous medical record errors

One of the reasons why patient identification is such a mess has already been mentioned – the lack of an effective patient identifier. However, another reason is the overwhelming medical record errors that already exist in the systems. Duplicate medical records and overlays, namely, have been causing patient mix-ups, leading to the wrong patients getting transplants, incorrect treatments, and more. These duplicate medical record errors typically are created during the registration process, and both their creation and use can be eliminated if patients are identified accurately.

See, if the patient is accurately identified right from the start and the appropriate medical record is used throughout the patient’s medical care history, then duplicates and overlays can be avoided – eliminating the issues caused by them for both caregivers and patients, preserving authentic patient data. This leads to another benefit of proper patient identification.

Ensures patient data integrity

As mentioned, medical record errors, and patient misidentification in general, lead to patient data corruption. Unless patient data integrity is maintained, the information is useless for healthcare providers and quite dangerous for patients. Imagine if a patient has cancer but gets treated for heart disease – it would be catastrophic! 

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Patient data integrity failures lead to the wrong treatment plans, detrimental healthcare outcomes, readmissions, and even deaths. However, accurate patient identification ensures that the correct information is being recorded in the appropriate medical records – ensuring patient data integrity.

Enhances patient safety

By now, it should be clear that positive patient identification prevents a plethora of issues such as duplicates, patient data corruption, medical identity theft, among other things. However, identifying patients accurately also leads to better healthcare outcomes and prevents medical errors, improving patient safety in the process.

Medical errors caused by mix-ups are prevented which also reduces readmissions – improving patient outcomes. Accurate information arms healthcare providers with the relevant details about the right patient, helping them make informed decisions, something that’s not possible when patients are wrongly identified. 

Reduces denied claims

Denied claims are a huge burden for any given healthcare provider, however, most of them can be prevented with accurate patient identification. Let’s look at an example of exactly how denied claims and patient misidentification are related. 

Suppose a patient, A, comes in for a checkup and the physician recommends a follow-up, and a small surgical procedure is planned. During the first two visits, A has been identified properly and their medical record includes the proper information. However, prior to the surgery, A is misidentified and the wrong EHR is assigned. Moving forward, everything will be recorded in the wrong EHR.

Now, when it comes to receiving payment for the surgery, the hospital sends a claim to the patient’s insurance provider. However, when the insurance company detects inaccurate coding due to incorrect information, the insurance company “denies” the claim. These billing and coding errors need to be fixed which takes up a considerable amount of resources and time – creating inefficiencies.

Denied claims can cost north of $4 million for the average health system, making it extremely costly for even the largest provider. 

Positive patient identification can prevent most denied claims as they are often caused by medical record mix-ups. Moreover, this also frees up FTEs (full-time equivalents) to do their jobs properly – improving efficiency and eliminating bottlenecks. 

Improves the quality of healthcare services

Patient identification errors have been rampant for almost two decades, leading to data quality issues. As a result, this information cannot be trusted – if the data is inaccurate, then everything moving forward will also be full of issues. 

Proper patient identification ensures that the right patient is connected to their accurate medical record at all times – this itself drastically improves the quality of services they receive. For instance, they won’t get redundant lab tests, incorrect medication, or the wrong treatment plans.

All in all, patient misidentification might seem trivial to many, but if accurate patient identification is ensured, then it brings several benefits for healthcare providers, patients, insurance companies, and everyone else involved.

However, did you know that our patient ID platform, RightPatient, can do even more than everything mentioned above?

RightPatient helps healthcare providers identify patients correctly

RightPatient is the leading biometric patient identification platform that has been helping several healthcare providers protect their patients. However, the factor that sets RightPatient apart from others is that it’s entirely touchless – patients only need to look at the camera during the verification process. The platform matches the saved photo with the live one and provides the accurate EHR once a match is identified.

The fact that RightPatient is contactless is why prominent healthcare providers have chosen it. The platform improves infection control and reduces HAIs (hospital-acquired infections) as there’s no physical contact required, making it ideal in a post-pandemic world.

Caregivers such as Community Medical Centers, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, and the University Health Care System have been using RightPatient and enjoying several benefits such as preventing medical identity theft, reducing duplicates and overlays, protecting patient records, and boosting their bottom lines. Be a responsible healthcare provider now and use RightPatient to see the difference it makes.

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Ensuring Data Integrity in Healthcare Facilities is Critical in a Post-Pandemic World

Starting on a positive note, it’s safe to say that we’ve seen the worst of the pandemic, at least in the U.S. Now that over 310 million Americans are vaccinated against the notorious COVID-19, almost everything is slowly but surely returning to the “old normal”. We’re saying “almost” because COVID-19 is still affecting a lot of people, businesses, institutions, and industries. The U.S. healthcare system, for instance, arguably faced the worst challenges it has ever had last year, leading to astronomical losses. While providers are opening their doors slowly, it’s estimated that they will face collective losses of over $120 billion this year. This makes it quite clear – hospitals need to implement strategies that can reduce losses, and ensuring patient data integrity in healthcare facilities might just be the answer, leading to improved quality and safety in healthcare – let’s dive deep.

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How COVID-19 changed our realities

Well, even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have noticed that the entire world changed last year. Social gatherings, sporting events, rallies, basically anything that included a large number of people were suspended and lockdowns were imposed to flatten the curve and reduce the infection rate. While different countries implemented lockdowns differently, all of them had one thing in common – the healthcare systems were shaken to their cores due to the unprecedented challenges.

COVID-19 was devastating for healthcare providers

In the U.S., hospitals had to suspend their regular operations, elective procedures, and in-person visits to take care of the COVID-19 patients. Healthcare teams and frontline workers did everything possible to fight COVID-19 as they risked their lives. As a result, hospitals had to cut off sources that normally would bring in revenue, and losses were around $323 billion last year. Surgeries usually are a huge source of revenue for healthcare organizations, and as they were postponed indefinitely, hospital finances plummeted.

Before going into how ensuring patient data integrity in healthcare facilities can reduce significant losses down the line, let’s take a look at some stats regarding surgeries. 

Some worrying stats regarding surgeries

According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, hospitals and health systems saw (on average) a 35% decline in surgical cases from March 2020 to July 2020. The same research also mentions that working on this backlog might require at least two years even if facilities can operate at 110% capacity!

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According to additional research, elective surgeries declined by around 193% after CMS recommended healthcare providers postpone non-emergency procedures back in 2020 – leading to unprecedented losses.

Moreover, only half of the healthcare providers want to implement strategies or solutions that can help them deal with this growing backlog. Moreover, around 80% of these same individuals believe that they can grow next year.

What they are failing to realize is that times have changed and so has the healthcare space. Telehealth is dominating and everyone is worried about hospital-acquired infections – healthcare has changed significantly. In this case, the hospitals and clinics that adapt themselves to the new changes will be the ones that will not only survive but will also thrive in the long run. While data integrity in healthcare has been sidelined during the pandemic, ensuring it becomes an important priority now can make all the difference.

But how is that relevant to surgeries? 

Patient data integrity in healthcare facilities can go a long way

Well, collecting and analyzing data properly can prevent losses, ensure smoother operations, and lead to boosted bottom lines. In fact, healthcare organizations that properly utilize data can make accurate forecasts, provide improved healthcare outcomes, and prevent medical errors. One of the key components of that is patient data – something which must be accurate at all costs. 

Ensuring patient data integrity in healthcare facilities can be challenging, but using the proper tools can drastically reduce adverse effects.

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For instance, patient data integrity failure can lead to duplicate medical records or overlays, patient safety incidents, detrimental healthcare outcomes, patient mix-ups, wrong procedures, and more. However, RightPatient is a solution that ensures patient data integrity right off the bat. 

RightPatient ensures patient data integrity in healthcare facilities

RightPatient is a robust touchless patient identification platform that solves one of the most crucial but overlooked issues of healthcare – patient misidentification. However, it brings several other benefits to healthcare providers and their patients.

By ensuring that the accurate medical record is used every time the registered patient comes in, RightPatient prevents mix-ups and duplicates, ensures patient data integrity, and ensures that data quality is maintained at all times.

RightPatient has been proudly protecting millions of patient records at several hospitals for years now with positive patient identification – are you protecting your patients properly?

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Preventing Medical Record Errors Improves Patient Safety

Healthcare providers in the U.S. never seem to catch a break – they’ve always faced a plethora of issues even before the pandemic. For a brief refresher, the U.S. healthcare system suffers from outrageous costs, the lack of price transparency, ancient laws that hamper healthcare outcomes, the lack of proper interoperability, medical record errors, preventable medical errors, patient safety incidents, and more.

While all of that seems like a bit too much, there are actually far more issues that regularly challenge health systems and hospitals and hold them back from providing positive patient outcomes. One such crucial but overlooked issue that hampers healthcare outcomes is medical record errors. Let’s explore how they are created, what are the consequences, and how proper patient identification can enhance the quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

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Medical record errors jeopardize healthcare outcomes in several ways

Patient safety incidents, detrimental healthcare outcomes, denied claims, patient mix-ups, and other adverse effects can be traced back to errors with medical records – the most common ones are duplicates and overlays. In fact, whenever an EHR error occurs, it typically goes undetected until an unfortunate event occurs such as the ones listed above. However, if one goes even further back, patient identification errors are likely to be the main culprit – let’s see how that happens. 

Patient misidentification leads to most medical record errors

One of the most common causes that lead to medical record discrepancies is patient misidentification, and that’s because most healthcare providers are using obsolete means to identify their patients – more on that later. Let’s take a look at how duplicates and overlays are created within EHR systems.

Duplicate record creation 

It’s quite straightforward – let’s start from the beginning. A patient comes into the hospital for a checkup, and since most hospitals suffer from patient identification problems, the EHR user is left with a difficult choice if they can’t find the accurate medical record. This happens because:

  • The patient has a common name
  • There are multiple patient records with the same characteristics
  • Searching for the right medical record is virtually impossible

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Now, the choices the EHR user has are either diving deep and painstakingly finding the accurate medical record, assigning the medical record that seems to be the “closest match”, or, just to be safe, creating an entirely new medical record. However, the latter can be catastrophic for both the patient and the hospital. Saving a discussion about the consequences for a later part, let’s see how overlays are far more damaging.

Overlays are extremely dangerous

Duplicate records are created when a patient has multiple medical records. Overlays, however, are single medical records that contain information about multiple patients – clearly, these medical record errors can be very dangerous.

Let’s continue from the previous example – the EHR user selected a medical record that best matched the patient (X), but it actually belongs to a different patient (Y). When patient X has their medical checkup, their health information is recorded into patient Y’s medical record, rendering it corrupt, unusable, and dangerous. Next time, when either patient returns for medical treatment, they’ll be facing detrimental healthcare outcomes because the data in their medical record is unreliable.

Moreover, with the growing adoption of EHR systems, these issues are becoming far more common. In fact, according to AHIMA, smaller hospitals have around 5-10% of these duplicate medical records whereas larger health systems can have a whopping 20%. These errors can cause around $40 million in unnecessary costs in clean-ups, litigation costs, and others.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with these duplicates and overlays is that, as previously mentioned, they remain undetected until an adverse event occurs. The best way to resolve medical record errors is by preventing them right from the start – accurate patient identification can help with that. 

RightPatient prevents duplicates and overlays

RightPatient has been helping responsible healthcare providers accurately identify patients at any touchpoint with its robust biometric patient identification platform. It can be seamlessly integrated with any EHR system and it becomes a part of the EHR workflow. 

Patients only need to look at the camera – the platform automatically locates the accurate medical record for the EHR user, making it a seamless, safe, and hygienic experience for everyone involved. It has been helping reputed caregivers like Grady health, TGMC, and Community Medical Centers prevent duplicate record creation, ensure patient safety, and boost the bottom line.

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Patient Data Integrity During Virtual Visits Must be Ensured as Experts Debate About Telehealth

Let’s face it – telehealth has been a huge driving force that made treating non-critical patients possible during the pandemic. Once COVID-19 hit the U.S. in full force, every healthcare provider dropped their regular operations and scrambled to care for the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients. Regular patients, however, were pushed towards remote visits, resulting in telehealth’s explosion in popularity. One of the best aspects of virtual visits was that patients received care right from their homes – one can even say that telehealth somewhat helped “flatten the curve”. While the major effects of the pandemic are fortunately behind us, many are questioning telehealth’s future now. That being said, let’s take a closer look at what experts think, why many are advocating for telehealth, and why ensuring patient data integrity during such visits is a must.

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Telehealth is universally acclaimed

While countless brave frontline healthcare teams worked to save COVID-19 patients that went to hospitals in huge numbers, telehealth helped non-critical patients during the pandemic. As more people agreed to virtual visits, healthcare providers, patients, vendors, insurers, and everyone else involved realized telehealth’s potential and approved its usage.

In fact, telehealth has become so popular that as we return to the “old normal”, many healthcare providers, experts, consumer groups, advocates, and even state Medicaid officials are pushing Congress to keep its expansions in place so that even more people can access and benefit from using it. This is because all of these people believe that virtual visits can transform healthcare. For instance, many services that used to warrant in-person visits can now effectively be provided via video communication platforms, sometimes, even audio calls are enough!

But, like everything else, there are two sides of the coin, and telehealth is no exception. 

There are skeptics of telehealth – many worry about patient data integrity

While telehealth has been growing at a rapid pace since the pandemic, there have been skeptics concerned about it. However, telehealth is no stranger to adversaries.

Telehealth has been around for several years, and since its inception, it has had its fair share of detractors. Why else do you think it took so long for telehealth to be where it is today? 

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While it can be said that telehealth is “transforming” healthcare, there are skeptics worried about the “side effects” it might bring. Even among supporters, there’s concern regarding its usage, costs, medical identity theft that will cause patient data integrity issues, and inequality for low-income patients. In fact, many fear that it will become a tool that will simply increase costs without adding additional value. While there might be safeguards in place down the line to control costs, the fear of medical identity theft bleeding over to virtual visits is quite natural. It occurs with in-person visits, and without proper safeguards, fraudulent cases might become a part of virtual visits too, hampering patient data integrity – let’s see how it might happen.

Medical identity theft is a common concern regarding telehealth

During in-person visits, the lack of a positive patient identification system leads to fraudsters getting away. Fraudsters are usually armed with the information required to bypass the security measures – most of the time, these security measures are questions regarding the patient. If the fraudster has access to the patient’s information (many buy the information from the black market), it’s easy to know the right answers. As these caregivers cannot accurately identify patients, fraudsters get access to healthcare services, medical devices, etc., and if they opt for treatment, it hampers patient data integrity. The same can happen during virtual sessions too – as long as there’s no effective way to identify patients accurately, fraudsters cannot be stopped. 

Thankfully, RightPatient can prevent medical identity theft during telehealth visits and in-person visits. 

RightPatient protects patient data integrity

As a touchless patient identification platform, RightPatient is being used to protect millions of patient records across a variety of health systems and hospitals. Using patients’ photos, the platform validates whether the patient is real or a fraudster, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. 

RightPatient makes patient identification in hospitals and virtual visits accurate, prevents impostors, and reduces substantial costs down the line – try our platform now to see how it can boost the bottom line at your healthcare facility.

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

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

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Patient data protection took a backseat during the pandemic 

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

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

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

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

How secure is patient data currently? 

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

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

Patient data is heavily targeted by hackers

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

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

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

Protect patient information with accurate patient identification

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

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

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

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The Importance of EHR Optimization and 3 Strategies for Improvement

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

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

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Importance of EHR optimization

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

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

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

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

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

Strategies that bolster EHR optimization

Keeping EHRs accurately updated 

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

Receiving and incorporating feedback

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

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Using solutions that bolster EHR systems and seamlessly integrate with them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data breaches – why target healthcare and what happens next

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

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

Protecting patient data is possible even after a breach 

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

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

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

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4 Innovative Ideas that can Bolster Transformation in Healthcare

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

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4 ideas that bolster transformation in healthcare

Patient engagement and patient monitoring going full digital

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

Introducing meaningful technology in relevant department(s)

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

Making telehealth a permanent part of the facility

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

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

Implement contactless technologies can truly introduce transformation in healthcare

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

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

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

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