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Improving Healthcare Outcomes with 4 Strategies

COVID-19 has the U.S. healthcare system sweating through probably the most volatile phase in its history. Hospitals are opening up their doors and gradually receiving patients as things are getting much better with the distribution of vaccines. However, the danger of underlying issues that have plagued the healthcare system for decades still remains. Despite these problems, the burden of hospitals providing immaculate healthcare services is still there. That being said, here are some of the practices that can help hospitals with improving healthcare outcomes and reducing their issues.

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Improving healthcare outcomes is a major priority currently

Administering proper care at the proper time and the avoidance of patient safety incidents is a major objective of hospitals. Thus, hospitals are under pressure to implement relevant strategies and solutions that will enhance their effectiveness. This includes partnering with other care providers to protect patient data integrity. While implementing some of these strategies can be pretty expensive, they do help with improving healthcare outcomes – here are some of the most important ones:

Ensuring efficient collaboration with the patients’ care providers

The right kind of collaboration is important in healthcare nowadays and CMS has established new conditions that require caregivers to work together. It has upped the ante on the degree of seriousness of it all.

So, what is the correlation between collaboration and patient outcomes? How does it work to improve healthcare outcomes?

Before terms such as interoperability and collaboration existed, people often were loyal to a single healthcare facility. This has changed, especially with data sharing, EHRs, and interoperability – patients are now free to visit multiple caregivers for treatments to their various conditions and ailments. There might be an interrelation between patients’ conditions and this provides ground for caregivers to associate to ensure that they obtain all the necessary data and up-to-date information that will enable them to make the best decisions with regards to handling the patient and thus improving healthcare outcomes.

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A hospital that is open to collaboration and the implementation of required strategies and relevant solutions will go a long way in helping to improve patient outcomes. The CMS requirements mandate that caregivers support sending and receiving electronic notifications during ADT events that provide updated information about a patient’s condition. RightPatient is a useful tool that caregivers can use to ensure the proper identification of patients and prevent false alerts – more on that later.

Ensuring patient data integrity

The integrity of patient data is often overlooked when it comes to its effects on healthcare outcomes but it is crucial nonetheless. Inadequate positive patient identification can ultimately affect the integrity of patient data. This occurs when a patient is treated with the medical record of another patient or the data gets corrupted in the EHR as the wrong information gets saved in it. When the actual patient comes in for treatment, he gets the wrong administration due to inaccurate information. Thus, medical errors arise, leading to incorrect treatment plans, wrong medication, and more, which lead to negative healthcare outcomes.

Impersonation by a fraudster can also lead to the compromise of patient data integrity – it occurs during medical identity theft. This case is similar to patient misidentification, the only difference might just be that the impersonator does it deliberately. The fraudster receiving the treatment then gets his/her information added into the victim’s EHR thus corrupting patient data. If this passes on undetected, the victim could end up undergoing the wrong treatment procedure.

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Therefore, a patient’s data has to be protected against tampering to further improve the healthcare outcome of the patients due to the reception of the proper treatment on schedule. 

Avoiding preventable medical errors

The focus has also shifted to limiting the occurrence of otherwise avoidable medical errors. The statistics behind such errors are quite alarming. These are common as a result of technical errors, medication errors, medical record mix-ups, wrong information, and so on. Poor patient identification is also responsible for most of the preventable medical errors. Thus, if patients can be accurately identified, then it will significantly improve patient outcomes. 

Preventing patient misidentification

The common problem in all the scenarios above is patient identification errors. It causes a huge problem for hospitals and health systems in general as discussed earlier. With patient misidentification, patient safety can be jeopardized with false alerts rampant during collaboration with other caregivers, sharing corrupted patient information, and the consequence is medical error. The bottom line is that misidentification can affect healthcare outcomes and it can even lead to the death of patients. 

Fortunately, accurate patient identification with RightPatient can help improve healthcare outcomes. 

RightPatient has been helping improve patient safety

RightPatient, with its touchless biometric patient identification platform, has become the top choice for several healthcare providers. It has helped them to enhance patient safety, improve patient healthcare outcomes, and reduce the occurrence of medical errors. The benefits are numerous for both patients and caregivers and this includes safety – it is contactless and perfect for use in a post-pandemic world.

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Hospitals Might Lose $122B – Can a Robust Patient Identification System Help?

Healthcare providers in every nook and cranny of the world have had their hands full with COVID-19 dealing damage everywhere. The US was not left out as its healthcare system could not cope with the unexpected events that persisted when the virus hit hard. The loss incurred in 2020 was massive for healthcare providers and difficult decisions had to be made. Unfortunately, the year 2021 doesn’t look like much of an improvement. The Kauffman Hall report suggested that healthcare providers could end up losing as much as $122 billion in 2021 in the worst-case scenario. On the less pessimistic side, they will lose up to $53 billion, which is still a significant amount. That being said, we need to look in-depth at how the impact could be reduced significantly and how the administration of an effective patient identification system can reduce significant losses.

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Loss is inevitable for most healthcare providers in 2021

The major difference between 2020 and 2021 is that now people are getting treated with vaccines against the devastation that was the theme of the previous year. Most hospitals have opened up and there is a gradual decrease in the amount of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals will, however, have to settle for a loss of about 10%, which is still considered a pretty serious loss by experts.

Patient identification errors are still plaguing health systems and, even before the pandemic, there had been huge losses for caregivers. But not all of them were suffering from the losses.

NYU Langone Health, Baylor Scott & White Health, the Mayo Clinic, and some others are just some of the large hospitals that benefited from a bout of federal healthcare bailout grants. Baylor Scott & White, in particular, earned profits in 2020. Many others didn’t come off with such luck as they had to shut their doors permanently, lay off most of their workers, introduce pay cuts, and furlough employees. The losses have further extended into 2021 and it could persist into 2022. The focus must. however. be shifted to existing problems – ensuring positive patient identification is one of them.

How an effective patient identification system helps reduce losses

The major strategy which healthcare providers are using to mitigate losses is by cutting expenses. Reducing the workforce shouldn’t be a priority as they could focus on solving problems associated with patient safety problems, medical records mix-up, duplicate medical records, patient outcomes, denied claims, preventable medical errors – the list goes on. The cord that connects them all is patient identification errors. 

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Poor identification of patients will cause hospitals to administer wrong treatments that often result in patient safety incidents, harmful patient outcomes, readmissions, etc. There is a consequential ripple effect of patient misidentification on hospitals and patients alike. These effects can be too heavy and costly on either side. Preventable medical errors, denied claims, litigation costs, and fixing duplicate medical records can lead to massive losses for any healthcare provider. An effective patient identification system must be adopted by hospitals – RightPatient is the best fit for the task.

RightPatient is the leading patient identification system

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that solves the problems plaguing healthcare providers and patients nowadays. It is just what we all need in this post-pandemic era. It is easy to use and hygienic for both caregivers and patients due to its touchless nature. RightPatient can help to prevent losses in millions by preventing patient misidentification, medical identity theft, denied claims, duplicate medical errors, etc. It is a must-have for responsible healthcare providers to reduce losses and enhance positive patient outcomes.

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Proper Patient Identification Mitigates Hospital Losses in Several Ways

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

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

COVID-19 further compounds the financial loss on healthcare providers 

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

2020 was a dark year for healthcare providers

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

Ways how proper patient identification cuts losses

Accurate patient identification reduces denied claims

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

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

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

Accurate patient identification improves patient safety

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

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

RightPatient ensures proper patient identification

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

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

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Hospital Acquired Infections are the Topmost Patient Safety Concerns – 4 Ways to Address Them

We started feeling the effects of the pandemic towards the end of 2019. The committed efforts in the US to create vaccines that would aid the hospitals and health systems in their fight against the pandemic have aided their return to a degree of normalcy. Caregivers are often concerned about the dangers of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) as one of the foremost patient safety concerns. The cases of COVID-19 made it an even bigger cause for worry for everyone. Patients are conscious of getting infected in the hospital with the virus and with the rate at which it spreads, caregivers have to be extra committed to infection prevention. Understanding this, we can move further to look at how HAIs can be prevented in the hospital and how patients can be assessed without touching them, for instance, by using a touchless patient identity verification platform.

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Addressing one of the trending patient safety concerns – HAIs

Hospitals are often perceived as a haven where people can be cared for as per their healthcare needs. However, the need to consider establishing policies to address the problems associated with patient safety concerns to forestall adverse health outcomes. Here are some ways in which hospitals can deal with HAIs.

Clean surfaces and patient equipment regularly

This is so important and almost traditional. It is one sure practice that either eradicates HAIs or reduces them to the barest minimum. Thorough cleaning and care for all surfaces in special parts of the hospitals such as where samples of blood, bodily fluids, or instruments that would be used to treat a patient are stored. Such care has to be administered to areas where people such as medics, suppliers, patients, or visitors are attended to. This will help to control the spread of germs that might have attached to their persons from outside. This is how control over infections can be achieved in the hospital.

The responsibility falls on healthcare providers to continue to institute practices that improve infection control in all facilities. Ensuring a clean environment with clean surfaces such as walls, chairs, tables, beds, doorknobs being cleaned and disinfected regularly and thoroughly. This has become even more important to do now more than ever. Disinfection of patient materials such as sheets and gowns must be carried out after each use. The use of disposable plates, cups, and spoons alone should be encouraged.

Enforce hygiene practices on everyone

One of the things we have picked from the pandemic is the consistent use of nose masks as well a practicing social distancing. That applies even in less clinical circumstances. It shows you just how crucial those practices should be encouraged within hospitals. The consequences are much dire in the case of poor hygiene practices in the hospital and health system. Caregivers will have a nightmare experience if a Covid-19 patient comes in contact with hundreds of other patients in an unprotected manner. People tend to not enjoy the use of masks, because of this set of people, it is important to enforce social distancing protocols in hospitals.  

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The use of signs warning against such unhygienic practices should be encouraged. A sign that reads “NO MASKS, NO SERVICE” can be placed in strategic positions in the hospital to restrict such carefree attitudes in the hospital. Informative designed posters can be used to educate people on the social distancing protocols should also be used. Hand sanitizers should be made available and compulsory for anyone who wants to enter the clinic. Maintenance might be costly but it is worth the effort nonetheless.

Workers in the hospital must project adherence to these rules for patients to emulate by maintaining hand hygiene, use masks, and maintain social distancing. New workers must be adequately trained and enlightened about the essence of a clean and disinfected environment.

Have a robust and updated infection control policy in place

The above-mentioned practices are but a few that help to maintain infection control protocols being administered by a standard caregiver. These policies must be renewed and retaught regularly enough and they must be shared with staff members to prevent HAIs.

Other recognizable practices that are commonly an important infection control policy include

  • The use of gloves
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Regular and proper disposal of weight
  • Ensuring proper etiquette while coughing
  • Avoiding needlestick sores and injuries

Using contactless solutions to prevent prominent patient safety concerns

Providing quality care and ensuring patient safety as a practice is extremely difficult and important. In improving patient safety and quality of care, multiple solutions can help care providers reduce HAIs and deal with other patient safety concerns such as poor identification of patients or a case of mistaken identity.

One of such solutions available is RightPatient, a touchless biometric patient identification platform that helps identify patients in any care situation and time. It also does this in a simple, safer, and more hygienic manner. The patient only needs to gaze at the camera to register and on subsequent visits by the care provider staff. The platform compares the live photo with the saved one and displays their accurate medical record after the match is found.

It significantly minimizes the dangers of infection control issues, prevents medical errors, reduces misidentification of patients and other patient safety concerns. It played an active role in the post-pandemic scenarios but it has been in existence for years in some health institutions because it has no deleterious effects attached to its usage.

Question is, what are you using to accurately identify patients and reduce HAIs in the healthcare systems while doing it?

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

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

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RightPatient improves the patient experience

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

Virtual consultations may not be for everyone

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

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

Normal, but not normal

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

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RightPatient has been improving the patient experience for several hospitals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Improve Healthcare Outcomes and Reduce Readmission Rates

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

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Improve healthcare outcomes with an effective patient identification platform

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

Identify your patient. Continue to identify your patient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RightPatient identifies patient records accurately

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

Sharing is caring.

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

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

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

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When it Comes to Clinical Trial Challenges, Professional Patients are a Real Headache

“Professional patients”, “duplicate test subjects”, whichever term you want to give them, are exceptionally dangerous and are one of the understated clinical trial challenges. Not only are they a danger to themselves, but they also put other patients in the trial at risk. Moreover, their involvement threatens the integrity of the trial(s) – research results are skewed significantly and that can cause effective medicine to be unapproved by regulatory bodies, generating billions in losses.

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RightPatient protects the integrity of clinical trials by preventing professional patients.

If you’ve been following our latest series of blog posts closely, you’d know what we’re talking about. Even if you’re not, that’s not a problem, because we’ll be covering more on professional patients in this article. Let’s take a closer look at how they get into the trials, some stats that show how common these duplicate subjects are, how helping them has become a job, and how they can be prevented from trials with positive patient identification using RightPatient.

Just another tale that shows one of the overlooked clinical trial challenges

In a previous article, we’ve talked about different tales of professional patients in clinical trials, why it’s difficult to detect them in specific cases, and how being vigilant might help in rare cases.

A PI who dug deeper after experiencing professional patients firsthand

The gist of it is that in the case of some trials, it’s virtually impossible to detect the severity of the conditions via objective medical tests. As a result, research teams have to rely on self-reporting of the symptoms, and in some cases, these reports are exaggerated by professional patients. A PI (principal investigator) even witnessed that a professional patient participated in around seven trials in twelve months! Another PI remained vigilant and noticed that the patients lied by looking at their medical records – let’s continue from this one.

A study on the involvement of professional patients in clinical trials was conducted by Eric Devine, Ph.D., and fellow researchers. Unfortunately, the results were quite frightening and far worse than imagined – something every sponsor, CRO, and PI must know about.

Some unnerving stats about professional patients

A whopping 75% of individuals falsified information just to participate in clinical trials, and they were involved in two or more studies just in a single year. The misinformation was regarding their health, medications, and the symptoms they faced. For instance, around 33% of them concealed medical problems, 20% concealed recreational drug use, whereas 28% concealed prescribed medications. That’s not all they uncovered – 14% of the sample falsified about having the required condition(s) whereas 25% of them overstated their symptoms to be a part of the trial(s).

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Ensure accurate patient identification and prevent professional patients in clinical trials now.

Helping others get into trials using deceitful tactics is a profession now

A crucial discovery Dr. Devine and his team made was finding the existence of a research expert who specializes in helping professional patients get into clinical trials. This “kingpin” researched and attempted to get into the study that consisted of Dr. Devine and the team because the payment was quite high. After gaining knowledge about the trial and the right answers to the questions, the individual charged others $40 to share what they needed to say and do to get into the trials.

Moreover, some individuals take up clinical trial enrollment as a profession and even maintain sites that have relevant information such as trial locations, study criteria, enrollment status, and so on. In those forums, they casually talk about how professional patients can get into clinical trials, according to Dr. Devine. In fact, organizations that check for deception are flagged by the site’s moderators, and also advise which clinical trials to skip if the patients want to enroll in a way that violates study criteria.

Professional patients are one of the lesser-known clinical trial challenges 

This is just one of the many stories of professional patients – there are far too many of these duplicate test subjects. While some of these bad actors are discovered, others, unfortunately, make it through the trials undetected, something that is far more dangerous. 

As mentioned at the beginning, not only does the presence of these bad actors put their safety in jeopardy, but it also threatens the integrity of the trials they participate in, leading to skewed results, halted or canceled trials, and billions in losses.

A potential solution to prevent duplicate study subjects

In a nutshell, professional patients must be prevented from participating. One of the most ideal ways to do so is by creating a centralized identity clearinghouse for clinical trial patients and ensure that the duplicate subjects are red-flagged whenever they try to enroll in a trial. 

Fortunately, RightPatient can help with that. A touchless biometric patient identification platform used by several leading U.S. healthcare providers, RightPatient has the experience and capabilities to prevent professional patients in clinical trials.

Contact us now to know how we can help you protect the integrity of your clinical trials and prevent delays in approvals by eliminating a crucial problem – saving millions in the process and improving the efficacy of your studies.

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4 Strategies for Patient Safety Quality Improvement

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

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

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RightPatient improves patient safety.

4 strategies for patient safety quality improvement

Providing proper training to healthcare staff members

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

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

Identify and work on reducing patient safety incidents

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

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

 

Work on reducing hospital-acquired infections

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

Preventing medical errors

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

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

Achieve patient safety quality improvement with RightPatient

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

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

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Professional Patients Are One of the Overlooked Clinical Trial Issues – More Examples

If you google the term “clinical trials” right now, you’ll see that virtually everyone is talking about them and are extremely interested in the topic. That’s because the pandemic has thrust the topic into the limelight, leading to even the average person talking about clinical trials. While most of the world is interested in clinical trials to learn about the vaccines that can combat the infamous virus, we’re here to talk about the efficacy and integrity of such studies. We’ve already covered how and why “professional patients” or “professional study subjects” are one of the less-discussed clinical trial issues. Today, let’s explore a few more real-life cases that support our claim and how effective patient identity management with RightPatient can prevent the participation of professional patients.

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Professional patients in clinical trials are one of the less-discussed issues.

Some examples to confirm professional patients are one of the hidden clinical trial issues

We’ve already talked about a case of a professional patient who falsified their information and participated in a few clinical trials. While the patient was in it for the money, let’s take a look at some other real-life cases.

A tale of lies

Patient Y had also participated in multiple clinical trials – three, to be precise, in a span of five years. According to her, these trials are short-term opportunities, and she turns down the ones that involve testing unproven drugs on her. The initial trial she participated in involved the use of a certain “botulinum toxin”, and while there wasn’t any payment involved, she got the treatment for free. 

The next trial patient Y participated in was about the study of the same toxin, and the research team took her blood sample, conducted an ECG, as well as other tests. This time, she did receive financial benefits – one of the incentives she searches for in trials. However, she provided incorrect information this time around – she decreased her age as well as lied when asked if she got Botox earlier or not (she did receive it in the first trial). She chose to get into the trial because she was getting paid and because she was getting free Botox. 

One glaring issue here is that even though the officials could have easily checked patient Y’s documents to verify her age, they didn’t, and she got to participate in the trial. This shows that not everyone who signs up as a participant is vetted thoroughly, which is why a robust patient identification solution is required – more on that later. Moreover, even though these professional patients are falsifying information to get into the trials, many of them believe that they are contributing to the medical community by being participants. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth, as they are part of one of the overlooked but crucial clinical trial issues that threaten the integrity of the studies.

Even regular test subjects know a few professional patients!

This case is different, as the patient involved, Z, never used any unlawful means to participate in trials, and even though he participated in some trials, he did so by complying with the rules and regulations.

However, patient Z did meet a number of patients who used misinformation and other means to participate in the trials, and according to him, they believe that the rules do not apply to them.

While patient Z participated for the financial benefits as well as helping advance medicine, he complied with all the rules and regulations. He used the compensation he received to pay off debts as well as support himself for around ten years – one of the trials that focused on Alzheimer’s paid him $31,000.

Moreover, as his grandmother has Alzheimer’s, patient Z feels that by participating in clinical trials to advance medicine that might be of use to her one day, he’s helping her.

“Professional patients” continue to be one of the overlooked clinical trial issues

As the above examples show, “professional patients”, “professional study subjects”, or “duplicate subjects”, whichever term use, still exist in clinical trials. They falsify information such as their age, identity, medical history, etc. to enroll in multiple trials simultaneously or consecutively. Doing so not only hampers their health and safety, but the safety of the other patients involved in the trials.

To make matters worse, their involvement skews the overall results of the research, leading to delaying the trials or even shutting them down due to undesirable but inaccurate information. Professional patients cause billions of dollars in losses, can lead to delayed approvals from regulatory agencies, and lead to wasted years of effort from sponsors, research teams, and CROs. These individuals must be eliminated from clinical trials right from the start – RightPatient can help with that.

Use RightPatient to prevent one of the overlooked clinical trial issues

RightPatient is a tried and tested solution in the U.S. – several healthcare providers are protecting millions of patients with it. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that uses patients’ photos to identify them accurately across the care continuum, and the same concept can be used for clinical trials. 

RightPatient can prevent the participation of professional patients in clinical trials by red-flagging individuals attempting to participate in either multiple trials or at different sites of the same trial. It helps improve the efficacy of clinical trials, remove any unwanted individuals that can skew the overall results, and protect the integrity of these trials.

Contact us now to learn how we can help protect your clinical trials from skewed results with our robust patient identification solution.

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The Benefits of Telehealth and How to Ensure Patient Safety During Virtual Visits

Telehealth is nothing new – it has been around for quite some time now, especially in the U.S. Unfortunately, its potential was not fully realized before the pandemic because healthcare providers were too wary about using it whereas pundits were busy arguing and analyzing the drawbacks and benefits of telehealth. As a result, not many patients were exposed to virtual visits – leading to telehealth becoming nothing more than a rarely used add-on that was just collecting dust in the drawer of unused tools, figuratively speaking. However, as we all know, the pandemic changed everything, and telehealth became essential. The pandemic allowed telehealth to show its potential as it was quickly thrust into the limelight.

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RightPatient prevents medical identity theft during virtual sessions

Let’s take a look at how virtual sessions are transforming healthcare, the benefits of telehealth for everyone involved, and how patient safety can be ensured during these remote patient visits.

How telehealth became relevant again

Technology has slowly but steadily become an integral part of the U.S. healthcare system – AI, wearables, machine learning, and other technologies are being tested to detect whether they improve healthcare outcomes for the masses or not. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, it was ignored due to a number of factors, and the benefits of telehealth were also overlooked. One of the biggest advantages of telehealth is that it offers patient care beyond the walls of hospitals and health systems. This basically means that patients can get care right from the comfort of their homes or anywhere they want – enabling true, remote care. The future of telehealth looked quite promising. 

And then, a certain novel virus overwhelmed the entire world and burdened healthcare systems. 

Hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as they were coming in huge numbers – healthcare facilities had to allocate all their resources to serve patients. Moreover, due to the nature of the virus, other patients were not allowed into hospitals and they were diverted towards telehealth – the rest is history.

Telehealth’s usage increased dramatically as regular patients started using it and caregivers started adopting different telehealth platforms to accommodate their patients. While telehealth’s usage has been slowing down somewhat, it’s still here to stay. 

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of telehealth enjoyed by patients and healthcare providers.

Benefits of telehealth

It makes healthcare more convenient than ever

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RightPatient ensures patient safety during telehealth visits

Before telehealth became a force to be reckoned with, many patients had to travel long distances to see their physicians in person, something that is cumbersome, expensive, and inconvenient. However, thanks to telehealth, patients can see their physicians from their preferred locations. Patients don’t need to travel miles – all they need is an internet connection and a communication device. Patients can simply book an appointment, get the link to the virtual session, and consult with their physician(s) at the location and time that works best for them – making a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Moreover, telehealth helps globetrotting physicians provide healthcare services to their patients while they’re out of the country – ensuring that all of their patients are cared for.

It enables remote access to healthcare services

One of the biggest advantages of telehealth is that it takes healthcare out of the hospitals, that is, it enables patients to get healthcare services from the comfort and safety of their homes. Telehealth was extremely helpful when the pandemic hit in full force. It was one of the key instruments that helped reduce infections since it helped patients receive care without putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus by visiting hospitals.

However, with the pandemic, telehealth has also shown how useful it can be in providing remote care to patients that either cannot come to healthcare facilities or are not willing to. Since most patients are now familiar with telehealth, healthcare providers are also investing heavily into it – some are developing their own telehealth platforms whereas others are using established solutions to support their patients.

While telehealth can never fully replace inpatient visits that are required for lab tests, surgeries, etc., it can handle patients that have chronic diseases but are not able to visit hospitals. All in all, telehealth’s future looks bright, something that was uncertain before the pandemic.

It reaches more patients

Most patients usually prefer going to the closest healthcare provider for check-ups and getting treatment. However, many live in rural areas and do not have the means to travel to the city. Fortunately, telehealth breaks down that barrier as it does not impose any physical limitations – a patient can consult a physician that is thousands of miles away. This opens up new opportunities for the caregivers as they can serve a larger population. 

There’s more to telehealth

While there is no doubt that telehealth is here to stay, it’s still in its early years and can put patient safety at risk. For instance, during telehealth sessions, patients can face the same issues they do during inpatient visits, such as patient misidentification. Moreover, many experts are concerned about medical identity theft that might occur with telehealth visits. Fortunately, RightPatient can help prevent that – improving quality and safety in healthcare

RightPatient enhances patient safety

A leading touchless patient identification platform, RightPatient is being used by caregivers to protect patients from healthcare fraud, medical record mix-ups, and more. RightPatient can also be used across the care continuum, making it ideal for telehealth sessions. It helps patients validate their identities, preventing medical identity theft by red-flagging fraudsters.

RightPatient supports telehealth sessions as well as inpatient visits – contact us now to learn how we can help enhance patient safety for your healthcare facility.