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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RightPatient effectively prevents data corruption

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

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

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

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RightPatient Can Prevent Medical Mistakes, Patient Mix-ups, and More

While 2020 felt like a very long year for all the wrong reasons, it has been already two months into 2021, fortunately. However, COVID-19 is still having a significant effect, especially on the US healthcare system. One of the many issues that were present even during the COVID-19 waves was patient identification errors, and it demonstrated that healthcare providers need to upgrade their patient identification systems immediately. Patient record mix-ups, preventable medical mistakes, sending reports to the wrong patients, and not finding the patient records were just a few of the problems healthcare teams faced during the pandemic.

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However, there’s a more serious concern up ahead. As the vaccine starts to slowly but steadily reach the general public, potential vaccine mix-ups might occur as a result of patient misidentification. This will severely jeopardize vaccine rollouts and make them lose their efficacy.

While patient identification issues and their several consequences have been present for a long time, they can be prevented with an effective patient identification platform like RightPatient – let’s explore.

How RightPatient works to prevent medical mistakes

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that helps hospitals and health systems prevent patient identification errors and mix-ups. It attaches the patent’s photo and biometric data to the medical records during registration. During subsequent visits, patients are required only to look at the camera – the platform verifies their identities and provides the appropriate medical records.

One of the best parts is that RightPatient is contactless, making it feasible for a post-pandemic environment, as it prevents HAIs (hospital-acquired infections). Moreover, it can also be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum, making it ideal for telehealth sessions. 

That was a lot about how RightPatient works – let’s see the issues it prevents – and can prevent – for healthcare providers. 

The problems RightPatient addresses

RightPatient prevents duplicate medical records

Duplicate medical records have been creating mix-ups, preventable medical mistakes, and more, leading to detrimental patient outcomes, impacting patient safety, revenue cycle issues, and lower bottom lines. Since RightPatient can identify registered patients right from the start, it prevents the creation of additional duplicate medical records as well as medical errors – improving patient safety and healthcare outcomes.

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RightPatient eliminates preventable medical mistakes

One of the biggest issues patient identification errors create is medical errors. For instance, patient A will get medications that are actually required by patient B – a single mistake can be disastrous. Moreover, there have been cases where one patient received a transplant that was supposed to be received by an entirely different patient. However, since their names or demographic characteristics were similar, a mix-up occurred. Fortunately, RightPatient prevents such cases – ensuring quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

RightPatient prevents medical identity theft and protects patient data

One of the prominent reasons medical identity theft cases are successful is because there is no way to catch the fraudster. Conventional patient verification methods are not well-equipped to handle misidentifications, let alone detect fraudsters.

Fortunately, RightPatient can accurately identify patients using their photos; whenever the fraudster tries to pass themselves off as the patient (or victim), the platform red-flags them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. This helps in a number of ways – patient information is protected from being corrupted, litigation costs are prevented by the healthcare provider and patient safety is ensured.

Can RightPatient prevent vaccine mix-ups?

While most of us among the general public wait for the vaccine rollouts, we have to remember that, at this point, to ensure maximum protection, we require two doses of the vaccine. However, imagine this – a hospital is housing vaccines from two different manufacturers. What if a patient receives the shot of Pfizer’s vaccine the first time and the second dose is from Moderna? 

Unfortunately, vaccine mix-ups are occurring as we speak, and it might significantly reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines, putting numerous lives at risk. Moreover, many of these cases might occur due to patient misidentification.

Fortunately, RightPatient can help hospitals and health systems to determine patients’ identities accurately, prevent record mix-ups, and ensure efficient vaccine administration without any hiccups, enhancing patient protection against the virus.

Responsible healthcare providers have been using RightPatient for years – preventing patient safety issues, avoidable medical mistakes, duplicate medical records, and medical identity theft in real-time. Contact us now to be a more responsible healthcare provider.

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Is Patient Information Protection Possible With Rising Cybersecurity Threats?

Healthcare is always in the spotlight – mostly because of the wrong reasons. Some of the many topics that often come up when discussing healthcare issues are data breaches, medical identity theft, the lack of interoperability, the lack of patient information protection measures, patient identification issues, among other things.

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However, due to the pandemic, telehealth has become a mainstream tool to provide patient care outside of healthcare facilities. While telehealth has been an extremely useful medium for caregivers and patients, there are valid concerns regarding its security. Moreover, even before that, cybersecurity threats have been growing considerably for the last few years.

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the recent state of healthcare data breaches, how the data were obtained from hospitals, and if patient information protection is possible.

The pandemic showed patient information protection measures were not enough

When the pandemic started, healthcare providers in the US had their hands full – not only did they have their usual problems to tackle, but also they had to deal with the surge of COVID-19 cases that overwhelmed their facilities. Quite naturally, healthcare frontline teams, facilities, and anyone else involved with them was pushed to their limits. Fortunately, there was a ray of hope when many hackers pledged that they won’t focus on hospitals since they were facing the biggest challenge in decades. However, not all the hackers shared the same sentiment – many chose to attack during this vulnerable period. 

For instance, by the end of 2020, many hospitals and health systems were victims of a wave of cybersecurity attacks that left them paralyzed. The attacks forced them out of their systems – disrupting healthcare operations until the hackers’ demands were met. Moreover, even prominent health systems took days to restore and operate normally.

Others were handicapped, and while not fully locked out of their systems, these caregivers were unable to provide accurate healthcare services too. For instance, they had read-only access to patient records, meaning that they couldn’t update the records themselves, which is usually done after seeing the patient (virtually or otherwise). As a result, a lot of scheduled visits, surgeries, and elective procedures had to be stalled or postponed. Cyberattacks ultimately harmed the bottom lines of affected hospitals. However, all of these attacks, delays, and threats led to the conclusion that patient information protection must be upgraded significantly to ensure quality and safety in healthcare.

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How patient information is typically protected

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is primarily focused on protecting patient information from internal and external threats or data breaches. It applies to any organizations (known as business associates) that deal with patient information or PHI (protected health information). HIPAA even has a Breach Notification Rule that provides guidelines for hospitals that suffer breaches. Unfortunately, there are many cases where HIPAA violations do occur, leading to hefty fines and loss of goodwill.

But how do hospitals typically ensure patient information protection? 

Well, different healthcare providers have different guidelines, budgets, constraints, and advantages. However, some of the more common ways hospitals and health systems protect patient information are:

  • Having a robust policy in place
  • Developing a culture that focuses on protecting patient information
  • Regularly providing training to staff members that access patient information
  • Performing internal audits
  • Having a security improvement plan in place 
  • Monitoring access and restricting unauthorized individuals
  • Pursuing HIPAA compliance
  • Encrypting patient information both in transit and at rest

Patient information protection needs an upgrade

While the aforementioned were some of the common security safeguards hospitals use to protect patient information, the pandemic showed the flaws of the existing cybersecurity measures. Also, another factor to consider is that not every healthcare provider has state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures in place – many are restricted by budgetary issues, bureaucracy, and current priorities their leaders have.

Telehealth raised security concerns

Moreover, telehealth has changed the rules. When the pandemic struck the US in full force, it forced the government to relax rules regarding virtual visits. While this was to make telehealth easier for patients and caregivers, it also opened doors for hackers. Cybersecurity experts were understandably worried about frauds – they already occur during inpatient visits, what about virtual ones? 

As a result, due to ever-increasing cyberattacks, healthcare data breaches seem inevitable, don’t they? However, their effects can be mitigated by preventing medical identity theft – that’s where RightPatient comes in. 

RightPatient can mitigate the effects of data breaches

A robust patient identification platform used by leading providers, RightPatient locks EHRs with patients’ photos and their biometric data upon enrollment. During subsequent visits, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform runs a search, and, upon a positive match, provides the accurate EHR within seconds. Fraudsters are red-flagged during the verification process, preventing medical identity theft in real-time and protecting patient information.

RightPatient is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it feasible for telehealth sessions. Responsible caregivers have been using the platform for years now – are you one of them? 

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Reducing Healthcare Fraud and Abuse During Telehealth Sessions

Healthcare fraud and abuse have been around for a significant amount of time – affecting healthcare providers, patients, and everyone else involved in the delivery of care. While most people think that it only affects patients financially, it has far more sinister consequences. For instance, medical identity theft, in many cases, causes the victims’ EHRs to become corrupt. Since the fraudster poses as the patient and might obtain healthcare services, their information gets recorded within the EHR, rendering it corrupt. Unfortunately, healthcare fraud is only increasing, demonstrating that it won’t be resolved soon. Moreover, experts are worried that healthcare fraud might bleed over to virtual visits (telehealth and telemedicine) as well since the majority of healthcare is using telehealth due to the pandemic. 

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the explosion of telehealth and its usage, why it might face healthcare fraud and abuse, and some practices that can help mitigate these cases. 

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Telehealth’s explosion in a nutshell

One interesting fact about telehealth is that it has been around for quite a few years. While it has been debated between healthcare experts and patients regarding its benefits and drawbacks, it never got the push required for it to evolve – until the pandemic. 

Once COVID-19 hit the US in full force, telehealth was promoted for non-COVID-19 patients who required medical attention. Moreover, rules surrounding telehealth were relaxed in order to help healthcare providers adopt it. As a result, telehealth’s usage skyrocketed, and while it does have some flaws, it proved that virtual visits are the way forward.

Telehealth raises concerns about healthcare fraud and abuse online

While telehealth grows, so does online healthcare spending, attracting the eyes of hackers and fraudsters – ultimately leading to healthcare fraud. The NHCAA (National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association) stated that a whopping $68 billion is lost due to healthcare fraud each year. 

But why are healthcare fraud and abuse related to telehealth?

Well, while most of us have gotten used to navigating life during the pandemic by now, when it started, it was an environment that created confusion, fear, and panic among the general public – patients included. Moreover, as previously mentioned, many regulations were relaxed in order to ease telehealth adoption. This created ways for fraudsters and criminals to take advantage of patients and caregivers via malware, bogus cures, charities, etc. For instance, there were cases where hackers and fraudsters gained access to telehealth sessions. 

As a result, not only should healthcare providers aim to secure telehealth platforms, but they must also adopt practices that help protect patient information and prevent medical identity theft during virtual visits as they become the new normal.

Reducing healthcare fraud and abuse during telehealth sessions

Use graphical elements to detect outliers

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Healthcare is vast, and any healthcare provider has to store lots of information or data regarding their patients, operations, etc. Using this information by itself might be counterintuitive as outliers would be very difficult to detect, especially regarding healthcare fraud schemes such as kickbacks. Data visualization, on the other hand, provides a visual representation and ensures that outliers and suspicious trends can be identified swiftly. However, its success depends on one aspect – the quality of data. 

Provide security training whenever necessary

Medical identity theft and data breaches are quite common in the healthcare space. As a result, hospitals and health systems need to train their employees regularly and effectively to prevent falling into the pitfalls of malware, phishing schemes, etc. Ensure that the training sessions highlight the most recent breaches and how they occurred, emphasizing the importance of preventing such cases within your organization. 

Aim for HIPAA compliance to reduce healthcare fraud

In order to prevent healthcare fraud and hackers from breaching data, the foundation within the hospital has to be strong first. In this case, the foundation is known as HIPAA compliance. 

Now, HIPAA compliance can be an administrative burden for most healthcare providers since there are several rules and regulations to follow. However, ensuring HIPAA compliance can lead to preventing medical identity theft as well as data breaches, as most of the rules are regarding the protection of medical information known as PHI (protected health information). Also, HIPAA talks about providing training to the necessary personnel so that they are updated about the most recent changes.

Fortunately, there are many solutions available that can streamline HIPAA compliance and reduce the administrative burden, but the one that stands out the most is HIPAA Ready. It is a robust HIPAA compliance management application that keeps HIPAA related information in a centralized location. It can also be used to conduct internal audits, identify, and address security gaps – strengthening security efforts. However, the best part is that it can be used right from a smartphone, putting HIPAA compliance in the palm of your hand.

Implement solutions that prevent medical identity theft

Some factors make data breaches inevitable. Firstly, many healthcare providers have a very meager cybersecurity budget, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Secondly, hackers are always coming up with new tactics to breach and steal patient information. These two factors alone make data breaches virtually unstoppable.

While healthcare data breaches seem to be inevitable, medical identity theft can be prevented – with RightPatient. 

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that attaches patients’ photos and biometric data to their medical records upon registration. For subsequent visits, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform runs a search and provides accurate medical records in seconds. Whenever a fraudster tries to assume the patient’s identity, RightPatient red-flags them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. 

Moreover, RightPatient is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it ideal for virtual visits such as telehealth sessions.

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8 Strategies That Enhance Safety in Hospitals

Healthcare has always been under scrutiny by everyone, and it’s quite natural. After all, it is a system that has a direct impact on our lives. Diving deeper, one of the aspects that are examined thoroughly is safety in hospitals, and for good reason. For starters, hospitals are havens where the sick and injured ones among us go for treatment. Since the critically ill patients are already vulnerable, they need to be guaranteed a safe environment so that their health doesn’t worsen, for instance, by contracting viruses.

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However, patient safety is just one side of the coin – physicians, nurses, and other staff members also need to be guaranteed safety. Just think about the COVID-19 fiasco – a patient with the virus can just pass it on to anyone in the hospital who is without protection. Thus, safety for both patients and hospital staff members is crucial to ensure quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

While we just explained why safety within healthcare facilities is important, let’s take a closer look at how it can be improved – for both patients and the hospital staff members.

Strategies that enhance safety in hospitals 

Have a robust patient safety policy in place

One of the most crucial ways to improve patient safety in hospitals is by having a written policy in place. It must outline the do’s and don’ts regarding normal as well as emergency patient safety incidents that may potentially occur within the premises. Having such a plan is more crucial than ever, given the pandemic. For instance, what to do during outbreaks, what to do when a patient contracts a virus, and similar scenarios must be included in the plan.

Keep critical materials in stock at all times

Healthcare providers know how big of a challenge COVID-19 has been. In fact, it is still wreaking havoc across the US healthcare system as well as the rest of the world. Using PPE in the new normal is important, not only for the individual’s safety but also for everyone else around them. 

Hospitals, however, are places where PPE is an absolute must. While surgical masks, gloves, etc. have been used for years by physicians and nurses mostly, it is required by everyone within healthcare facilities.

Thus, keeping a healthy amount of quality PPE in stock is a crucial factor that impacts both patient and employee safety – it helps safely provide uninterrupted healthcare services. Moreover, reordering them when inventory drops to around 40% is a good strategy – remember, most of these materials are disposable!

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Enforce safety measures on everyone on the premises

While there may be many individuals who might not like masks or other PPE, don’t let such behavior put your patients in jeopardy – it severely hampers safety in hospitals. Enforce rules within the healthcare facilities that apply to everyone. For instance, place posters on entrances and strategic places with messages that highlight the importance of masks as well as the fact that nobody is allowed to be there without proper PPE. Enforce social distancing as well, especially during patient registration, as many can forget about it during crucial moments.

Ensure proper waste management

This is a common but critical issue for any given healthcare provider, as most of them deal with discharges such as excretion, blood, etc. that might be contaminated. Properly label the trash cans or containers where these types of wastage go and also provide the employees with proper safeguards (masks, gloves, eye protection) so that they are safe while handling these materials. This won’t only help improve their safety, but the safety of everyone else they come in contact with.

Disinfectant commonly touched surfaces and materials

COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly and effectively viruses spread and how they stay on surfaces for an extended period. Ensure that beds, bed sheets, and any other surfaces are kept clean regularly. Also, use disposable glasses, plates, and materials whenever possible so that transmission is kept to a minimum.

Continuously work on improving safety

Ensuring safety once is not enough in such a rapidly changing environment – any responsible hospital or health system must take safety as a process rather than a task. 

Set meaningful targets to improve patient safety, tools to monitor them, and follow up to observe how you are doing. For instance, zero patient harm can be a huge challenge, but moving toward that goal and implementing the practices required for it can significantly reduce patient safety incidents.

Deploy solutions that boost patient safety in hospitals

There are many solutions available that improve patient safety. However, one of the most crucial ones right now is RightPatient – a touchless biometric patient identification platform. But why is it needed so badly now?

Well, patient identification errors have been causing problems even during the pandemic and RightPatient solves that effectively. However, the best part is that it is entirely touchless, something that is a must in a post-pandemic world. All the patients need to do is look at the camera during – the platform attaches a photo and biometric data with the EHRs during registration. For subsequent visits, RightPatient runs a search when patients arrive and look at the camera, and provides the appropriate medical records in seconds. This helps to reduce HAIs (hospital-acquired infections) as there is no physical contact required. Moreover, patient safety is improved, medical errors are prevented, and healthcare outcomes are improved with RightPatient. 

Streamline OSHA compliance to improve employee safety

Hospitals have a lot on their plates as they must focus on employee safety as well as patient safety. Thankfully, CloudApper Safety, an OSHA recordkeeping software, can help with that. 

Employees can use it to share the best practices they deem suitable using their smartphones, and one of the main highlights is that the app can be used using mobile devices. Healthcare employees can report accidents, injuries, and near misses along with photos – helping streamline OSHA compliance. The management, on the other hand, can use all of the data, and work on corrective actions – improving safety in hospitals. It helps remove the administrative burden, streamline OSHA compliance, as well as reduce workplace safety incidents – enhancing safety for everyone involved.

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5 Ways EHR benefits Healthcare Providers and Patients

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

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5 ways in which EHR benefits healthcare

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

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

Boosts coordinated care

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

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

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

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Ensures a well-organized database

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

EHR benefits patient care

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

Secures patient data

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

Improves efficiency

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

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

RightPatient boosts EHR benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Improving Quality of Care for Patients – 3 Tech Trends to Watch Out for

2020 feels like yesterday – while it did seem like the longest year due to COVID-19 and a number of other issues, we’ve finally stepped into 2021. The pandemic did bring a lot of hardship, took a lot from us, and has changed our lives forever. However, it did also show new ways to do things we thought were never possible. For instance, virtually everyone has worked remotely (many still are doing it) and telehealth usage exploded. COVID-19 changed reality for everyone and everything, but it affected healthcare the most, especially that of the US. Many hospitals had to shut their doors, whereas many health systems closed down some of their facilities. However, one of the most dramatic changes to healthcare was telehealth, and it looks like it’s here to stay. The pandemic has also forced many to adopt or come up with technology that has the potential to improve the quality of care for patients – let’s take a look at some of the promising ones.

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3 tech trends that can improve the quality of care for patients 

Telehealth

Quite unsurprisingly, telehealth is the tech to look out for in 2021. Telehealth has been growing immensely, and it’s finally getting all the attention it deserves. Since the pandemic started, the focus has been on two things – treating COVID-19 patients by allocating whatever resources required and diverting non-critical patients to virtual sessions. Months later, telehealth has been the icing on the cake – it helped reduce infections as well as helped patients receive care online without having to leave the safety of their homes. While it still might have some issues to iron out, all trends point toward a healthcare system that significantly uses virtual care. 

Moving toward the cloud

Some large players are entering the healthcare system and they are definitely going to attract the attention of hospitals and health systems to store their data online. With data breaches becoming more common than ever, it shows that most of the existing cybersecurity measures taken by hospitals are not up to the mark, mostly because of budgetary issues. 

While not everything can be moved to the cloud, many critical pieces of information can be, and that can ultimately help healthcare providers as it can be used to securely access data from anywhere – something that has become mandatory since the pandemic. 

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All of this cannot only make sharing and retrieving data more convenient but also improve healthcare processes by making them faster and more reliable – improving the quality of care for patients.

Touchless solutions 

Due to the pandemic, the entire world is working hard to reduce or eliminate touch-based processes or solutions. Even in the healthcare space, touchless solutions will be seen in the coming years. However, did you know that such a solution already exists and that many forward-thinking hospitals have already been using it? 

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that has been helping responsible healthcare providers for years. It is tried and tested, is versatile, and is helping enhance patient safety. But why exactly should more healthcare providers adopt it going forward? Well, that’s because the pandemic has shown everyone how deadly physical contact can be and how quickly people can get infected.

Quite naturally, it means that everyone knows about the cons of touch-based solutions. Most patient identification platforms require physical touches from patients – raising infection control issues. Fortunately, RightPatient is entirely touchless – it attaches a photo and biometric data of the patient with their EHR. After enrollment, all a patient needs to do is look at the camera – the platform performs a search and provides the appropriate medical record in seconds. 

Moreover. RightPatient is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint within the healthcare facility, making it feasible for telehealth sessions. Patients are sent an SMS or email after they schedule appointments. They are required to provide a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license – RightPatient automatically compares the pictures, ensuring remote authentication. 

RightPatient not only solves a crucial problem of healthcare providers (patient misidentification), but it also helps improve patient safety, reduce duplicate medical records, and prevent medical identity theft effectively. Be a responsible healthcare leader now and use RightPatient to improve your bottom line by improving the quality of care for patients.

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4 Practices Regarding Telemedicine That Enhance Patient Protection

COVID-19 is a phenomenon that will impact us for years to come, if not decades. It has shaken the entire world to its core and has changed everything we know. COVID-19 affected our daily lives, changed the way we interact with others, and made masks as well as sanitizers crucial necessities. Since many of the COVID-19 patients required urgent care, the US healthcare system had to come up with other ways for hospitals to serve non-COVID-19 patients without exposing them to the virus. Fortunately, tailor-made solutions already existed – telehealth and telemedicine being the biggest players. As a result, hospitals have been diverting a significant portion of their non-critical patients to virtual sessions – changing healthcare and the patient experience forever. That being said, let’s explore what the patients think about telehealth, what experts are saying about it, and how to ensure patient protection while improving quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

RightPatient-ensures-patient-protection-during-telemedicine-sessions

How telemedicine came into play

Since the novel coronavirus hit the US, it has been overwhelming healthcare providers, their frontline teams, and virtually everyone who is involved in the caregiving process. Due to capacity restrictions and patient safety concerns, caregivers had to redirect at least one-third of their less critical patients to telemedicine. Naturally, its usage shot up significantly in the beginning, and while it has been declining for some time, it is expected to increase as COVID-19 cases are once again rising. The bottom line is that telemedicine and telehealth are here to stay, although some issues need to be addressed.

Let’s take a look at what over a million end users, i.e. patients, think of telemedicine, according to a recent survey by Press Ganey.

Patients’ perceptions regarding telemedicine

The first thing to highlight is that while most patients do appreciate the convenience telemedicine offers, it has a lot of wrinkles to iron out to make it seamless and more effective.

The good things

While many patients were being exposed to virtual visits for the first time, they did find it satisfactory. Many even said that they were likely to give good ratings to their caregivers after virtual visits, just as much as they would during inpatient ones. Telemedicine could successfully lead to a bond between the patient and the physician, and many patients felt that their physicians were more attentive during these virtual sessions. A patient even noted that during inpatient visits doctors would be looking at their computer screens anyway, which felt like they were distracted. During the virtual visits, however, the doctor had direct eye contact with her. 

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What needs improvement

While telemedicine itself is good, the process and ease of getting to virtual visits are not – these need significant improvements, especially with scheduling sessions and making audio or video connections.

However, there are a few more issues that require attention which, according to experts, might hamper patient protection – let’s dive in.

Experts are worried about patient protection

Healthcare data breaches have been increasing significantly, and are occurring even now. Moreover, the risk of a breach is higher during virtual sessions, ultimately endangering patient data. Healthcare providers need to strengthen their security measures and ensure patient protection during virtual visits. With restrictions eased regarding communication tools like Zoom, Skype, and similar utilities, as well as hackers turning their attention to virtual sessions, patient data security is at more risk than ever.

Practices that improve patient protection during virtual visits

Provide training and ensure awareness 

There is nothing more effective than raising awareness among your employees, and the best way to do this is by providing them with training. Clearly explain to them the consequences of data breaches, and also provide them with sessions where they can learn about the do’s and don’ts regarding emails, opening links, accessing patient data, etc.

Follow practices that safeguard patient information

Encrypting data might be the oldest trick in the book, but it can make it difficult for hackers to use the information.

A few practices must be followed to ensure patient protection during both virtual and inpatient visits:

  • Ensure that patient data is encrypted during rest and transmission.
  • Use reputed antivirus and firewall applications.
  • Use only verified and licensed software and keep them updated.
  • Restrict access to any unauthorized parties.

Use enterprise-level video conferencing platforms

While hospitals initially got the chance to use tools such as Zoom, Skype, Meet, etc., these have added cybersecurity risks. Telemedicine has grown significantly now, with many enterprise-grade platforms available that have enhanced security out of the box. While deploying them might be costly, they can be critical for ensuring patient protection during virtual sessions, eliminating the chance of hackers gaining access during these sessions.

Use solutions to mitigate risks and ensure patient protection

While there are many practices and strategies available that might strengthen cybersecurity efforts, hackers always come up with plans that ultimately could result in data breaches. Moreover, not all caregivers can upgrade their security measures due to several factors, especially budgetary constraints. As a result, having a response plan to mitigate the risks and consequences is crucial. Also, while it might seem like data breaches are unstoppable, medical identity theft is not – it can be prevented with RightPatient.

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that uses patients’ faces to identify their records. Moreover, it is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the facility – making it perfect for virtual visits.

After scheduling appointments, patients need to provide a personal photo and a photo of their driver’s license; RightPatient automatically extracts the data and compares the photos for a positive match, verifying identities remotely. New patients are provided with unique biometric credentials. If a fraudster attempts to assume the identity of the patient, the platform will red-flag them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. 

During inpatient visits, enrolled patients only need to look at the camera – the platform runs a search to identify the patient and provides the correct medical record within seconds.

By doing so, RightPatient can prevent medical identity theft even after data breaches, protecting patient information, eliminating litigation costs, and mitigating the consequences.

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Improving Remote Patient Outcomes by Addressing 5 Elements

The pandemic has been an unprecedented event that has taken much away from us since it started. However, hospitals in the affected countries felt its heat the most, and arguably the worst affected one is the US healthcare system. COVID-19 forced hospitals to divert regular patients to telehealth, leading to the explosive growth that it very much needed. Since telehealth is here to stay, more and more caregivers are adopting it and allocating resources for their online patients. While doing so, healthcare providers need to ensure that patient outcomes are optimal and immaculate.

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Let’s take a look at five elements healthcare providers need to consider and address to improve the patient outcomes of their remote patients.

5 addressable elements that can improve online patient outcomes

Catering to patients’ expectations

While telehealth has been around for quite some time in the US healthcare system, healthcare providers and patients did not pay much attention to it. Experts kept arguing about its merits and drawbacks, whereas patients were reluctant to try it. 

Telehealth achieved mainstream popularity only after the pandemic hit the US, and after almost a year, both patients and caregivers still might need some adjustments. For starters, caregivers need to identify patients’ expectations and work on addressing them.

A seamless check-in process and reduced wait times are good starting points, as these are some common requests. Moreover, if there are any temporary issues with the service, patients need to be notified immediately to avoid dissatisfaction. Conducting small and engaging surveys is another good strategy to determine what patients expect during the virtual sessions.

Training telehealth staff members

One of the best ways to improve online healthcare outcomes is by ensuring that patients have the best possible experience, and that can be done only if the telehealth team works effectively.

As already mentioned, telehealth is quite new to virtually everyone, and providing training sessions to the telehealth teams is a must to ensure that they use this solution to its maximum potential.

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Not only can training help improve efficiency, but it can also help caregivers provide patients with a seamless, intuitive, and engaging experience, improving patient outcomes in the process.

Ensuring ample security

Patient safety and confidentiality are necessities that any and all healthcare providers must ensure, and virtual sessions are no different. Something that is often brought up in regard to telehealth is security – data breaches are at an all-time high. Experts have been predicting that there will be fraudulent cases during telehealth sessions, as hackers and fraudsters may try to disrupt the entire session.

Hospitals and health systems must ensure that ample safeguards are used to protect patient information, prevent data breaches, and identity medical theft. Caregivers must go the extra mile and ensure that patient outcomes are error-free, safe, and optimal. 

However, while data breaches have so far been inevitable, medical identity theft is not. It can be prevented, but more on that later.

Ensuring reliability

A solution is as good as its reliability, and the same goes for telehealth options. Healthcare providers have a variety of options – they can either choose from the vast number of third-party solutions, or they can develop their own in-house. Whichever option they choose, healthcare providers must ensure that the solution is reliable and doesn’t break down unexpectedly or under pressure. If it fails, it can result in detrimental patient outcomes. For instance, equipment or technology breaking down in the middle of a telehealth session can be potentially dangerous for the patients, especially those who need urgent care.

While choosing third-party telehealth solutions, reading reviews can be quite helpful to determine their reliability. Also, pilot testing them provides a first-hand experience as to how reliable they are in real-time.

Ensure accurate patient identification for improved patient outcomes

Patient identification errors have been a prevalent but overlooked issue within the US healthcare system, and while many caregivers are still struggling with it during the pandemic, it will very likely be an issue during telehealth sessions as well. Imagine this: if the patient is misidentified right from the start and the wrong EHR (Electronic Health Record) is used, then the entire process will be full of errors. Moreover, as previously mentioned, medical identity theft during telehealth services is a growing concern. However, all of this can be mitigated with RightPatient.

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that is used by responsible caregivers to accurately identify their patients. It locks patients’ medical records with their photos and their biometric data during registration. Moreover, it is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the healthcare facility, making it ideal for virtual sessions like telehealth and telemedicine. 

Patients receive an SMS or email after scheduling their appointments, after which they have to provide a personal photo and a photo of their driver’s license. RightPatient automatically compares the photos for a match, ensuring correct patient identification. 

Within healthcare facilities, the patient only needs to look at the camera – RightPatient performs a biometric search and provides the correct medical record after finding a positive match.

Not only does RightPatient prevent medical record mix-ups, but it also red-flags fraudsters, preventing medical identity theft even after a data breach and improving patient outcomes in the process.

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Four Ways to Improve Protection of Patient Information Within Hospitals

Healthcare in the US has been facing considerable challenges for the past few years. Data breaches, medical errors, patient safety issues, patient mix-ups, medical identity theft, the lack of interoperability, and detrimental patient outcomes are just some of the many problems that plague healthcare providers. However, one of the more crucial issues for healthcare providers is data breaches as they lead to a number of problems, especially compromising patient information. Unfortunately, these are becoming more common, even during the pandemic. Let’s take a look at why protection of patient information is crucial and four ways to improve its protection – leading to better quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

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Why the protection of patient information is crucial

The importance of patient information cannot be overstated – it is one of the most sensitive pieces of information for any given individual. Since it contains data such as names, medical history, medications, vitals, diagnoses, allergies, test results, demographics, etc., it should be protected at all times. Otherwise, external and internal data breaches can lead to the exposure of patient information to unauthorized individuals who might use it for nefarious purposes.

Medical identity theft is one of the most common outcomes of data breaches, and the former leads to patient data corruption. Patient data becomes unreliable, fragmented, and dangerous, causing detrimental healthcare outcomes down the line. This is exactly why HIPAA focuses on protecting sensitive information, known as PHI (protected health information).

After seeing why the protection of patient information is important, let’s take a look at how to improve it.

Four ways to improve the protection of patient information

Monitor access rights

Another way to enhance patient data protection is by monitoring access rights periodically, at the very least. This can be done by conducting internal audits to detect whether any unauthorized individuals have access to patient records. It’s crucial to remember that patient data protection requires preventing both internal and external breaches as well, and monitoring access rights prevents internal ones. After detecting the issues, simply revoking the access given to unauthorized users enhances protection.

Conduct risk assessments regularly

The best way to protect patient information is by taking the proactive approach – identifying issues within the system before the hackers do. Thus, healthcare providers need to conduct internal audits in order to detect existing security gaps, come up with effective solutions, and implement corrective actions.

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Utilize blockchain

Blockchain is something that has been trending in the past few years, and using it can significantly improve patient data protection. But how exactly can it help healthcare providers do so?

Well, hackers usually attack a single point. Since patient information is grouped in a single location, it’s easier to attack it and tamper with it however they please. Fortunately, blockchain enhances the protection of patient information. As the stored data is distributed over the network, hackers no longer can attack a single point – they need to access the data at all the blocks repeatedly. Moreover, any changes will be picked up by the officials and such changes require the approval of the majority of those in charge, making it virtually impossible for conventional hackers to hamper patient information.

Use solutions that focus on patient data protection

There are many solutions available for protecting patient data, but responsible caregivers need to think beyond data breaches as well. Data breaches have been far too common, and that’s because most healthcare providers have budgetary constraints leading to poor cybersecurity measures. While data breaches might be inevitable, providers can prevent medical identity theft in real-time with RightPatient.

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification solution that locks EHRs with patients’ photos. Moreover, it’s versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the hospital, making it ideal for remote sessions such as telehealth and telemedicine.

After scheduling an appointment, the patients receive an SMS or email. They need to provide a selfie along with a photo of their driver’s license, after which the platform compares the photos for a positive match, ensuring remote authentication.

Patients coming to hospitals only need to look at the camera. The platform compares the photos – red-flagging fraudsters and preventing medical identity theft in real-time. This ensures the protection of patient information as it prevents incorporating the fraudsters’ medical information within the EHR. In many cases, medical identity theft can be life-threatening for the patients if it remains undetected and unaddressed, something that RightPatient prevents.