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Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare Require Patient Identification During the Pandemic

Another day, another new initiative by healthcare leaders regarding patient identification. One might wonder that given the pandemic and its ongoing effects on healthcare, why is that a top priority right now? Well, that’s what the healthcare experts have been demanding as inaccurate patient data negatively impacts patient outcomes during this crisis. The U.S. healthcare system has been suffering due to the absence of a patient identifier for decades now – the ban is still in effect on a UPI. Let’s look at what industry experts are saying and how positive patient identification can ensure patient safety and quality healthcare.

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The importance of patient identification according to experts

This isn’t the first time leaders have talked about the need for accurate patient identification and it won’t be the last time. Healthcare providers have been struggling with patient identification for decades now, leading to compromised patient safety, inaccurate patient data, and unwanted healthcare outcomes. Add the pandemic to the equation, and identifying patients accurately becomes more important than ever as accurate data sharing is a topmost priority.

Recently, a session organized by the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator) for Health IT brought up the topic. According to Tom Leary, HIMSS VP of Government Relations, incorrect patient data leads to adverse impacts on public health response initiatives. He further elaborated on that – patient identification errors during the ongoing crisis led to several issues like improper data sharing, delays in sharing test results, and inaccuracies within longitudinal patient records. According to Mr. Leary, some nurses even tried to Google patients to identify them and contact them regarding their test results!

Preparing for COVID-19 vaccines, whenever they’re created, will require accurate patient identification during large-scale immunizations to identify the infected ones, the ones who got the shots, and to identify the outcomes of the cases, stated Mr. Leary. Not having any proper patient identity verification system in place is just worsening the health outcomes and adding fuel to the ongoing fires during the pandemic. Thus, to ensure patient safety and quality healthcare, proper patient identification is an absolute must.

Patient safety and quality healthcare depend on identifying patients

As previously mentioned, many might think that with the pandemic still impacting healthcare significantly, patient misidentification is the last thing we need to worry about. However, Mr. Leary, as well as other healthcare industry experts, thinks otherwise. During the ONC session, they have already demonstrated how patient misidentification is affecting healthcare outcomes. But even before the pandemic, patient identification errors were notorious for adversely impacting patient safety and quality healthcare.

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Let’s go back to the time before the pandemic struck the U.S. Even then, the healthcare system had a plethora of issues, one of which was duplicate medical records and overlays. Imagine – a patient came to the hospital and they were assigned a duplicate record, based on which the whole treatment will be provided – so many things could go wrong!

An incomplete or inaccurate EHR leads to repeated lab tests, improper treatment, and even deaths due to a single misidentification. As a result, patient safety is severely impacted as well as healthcare outcomes. Patient misidentification cases are associated with unwanted incidents that can haunt caregivers – loss of goodwill and litigation costs are just some of the consequences.

Even before the pandemic, patient misidentification was a significant issue within the healthcare system. However, the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates how patient identification errors impact patient outcomes during a time when accurate patient information is of the essence. 

Experts are urging for the UPI once again

It’s been around two decades since the ban was imposed on a state-funded UPI (unique patient identifier), but industry experts are once again rallying to remove the ban this year. Even if the UPI is finally mandated, responsible healthcare providers will combine it with an effective patient identifier. Such a patient identification policy will encompass several benefits such as enhanced interoperability, reliable patient matching, and improved healthcare outcomes. So, out of all the different patient identification solutions out there, which one is the best match?

Patient safety and quality healthcare require RightPatient

RightPatient has been ensuring accurate patient identification for years now, but why is it the best solution? Well, it can be seamlessly integrated with EHRs to become part of the workflow, making it perfect to be used alongside the UPI, should the latter get approval. Moreover, RightPatient eliminates the biggest headache of providers currently – infection control issues, as it is a touchless solution. With its photo-based search engine for identifying patients during appointment scheduling and beyond, RightPatient is the most feasible choice for positive patient identification post-COVID-19.

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Lack of Proper Patient ID Leads to “Professional Patients”

Patient ID issues have always been prevalent in the U.S. healthcare system – we help solve these issues for healthcare providers. Today, however, we won’t talk about patient identification issues that exist in hospitals and healthcare systems – we will focus on the fact that the problem extends beyond the average provider. Unfortunately, many patients take advantage of the lack of a proper patient identity verification system and go repeatedly to their providers’ facilities and take advantage of healthcare services. Did you know that this happens within clinical trials as well? Let’s learn more.

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The importance of clinical trials

Clinical trials have a significant impact on conventional healthcare. They lead to breakthroughs that boost healthcare outcomes, reduce recovery times, and can even provide medicine to treat complex and previously untreatable diseases. When considering this topic, COVID-19 would likely pop up in most people’s minds. That’s what the whole world is fighting against currently, and the proposed vaccines developed by leading professionals are going through several clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines and whether they have any undesirable side effects.

Thus, the importance of clinical trials is paramount for everyone involved. Likewise, the individuals who volunteer, known as clinical research patients, are essential as well. Let’s see what their motivations are to participate in these activities and what factors are at play that might put the entire trial at risk.

The lack of patient ID systems hurts clinical trials

Patients who participate in clinical trials are well compensated for volunteering. Many do it for altruistic reasons, and while compensation is based on the risks involved, the research is also vetted by an institutional review board. This is done to determine whether anybody enlisted solely for monetary benefits – many patients even enlist in multiple trials or sites. But why do they do so? How do they affect the integrity of the trials? How can an effective patient ID platform prevent this issue?

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Professional patients

There are some types of clinical trials where the financial benefits are quite lucrative for individuals who join more than one trial or participate at multiple sites simultaneously. Naturally, many do join these trials and expose themselves to either multiple doses of the same drug or single doses of multiple drugs undergoing testing. These types of patients cannot afford the money to pay for healthcare and thus sign up for multiple trials – they participate to gain access to both the treatment and the compensation. This is just one type of “professional patient” – let’s look at others.

The other type of professional patients falsify information regarding their medical condition – they don’t have the required condition but want to be a part of the trial. They can falsify information regarding the results and effects of the trial to show that they are participating – only to receive the compensation. As you can imagine, their participation in clinical trials may be extremely dangerous.

Another type of professional patient is individuals who actually have the required medical condition but they fake the results – they don’t want to be treated for the condition. These are quite common in trials involving research into treatment for addiction.

The consequences of professional patients

Getting exposed to multiple drugs that are still undergoing testing can lead to adverse effects for the patients. Other than patient safety, the reliability of the trials will be reduced due to integrity failure. Overall, the trials will experience significant losses due to the actions of a few. 

COVID-19 has already claimed over 965,000 lives while experts around the world are racing against time to come up with a cure so that we can finally go back to leading normal lives. If these professional patients participate in the clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, the affected trials will be rendered useless due to the unreliable data these patients will provide. Even when a vaccine is developed it will lose credibility due to professional patients, delaying the most significant breakthrough we need. Is there any way to stop these harmful practices and ensure data integrity of clinical trials?

An accurate patient ID platform is the key

Professional patients are getting smarter about how to enter clinical trials now that information is available on social media. However, if there was an effective patient identification platform in place, it would be enough to prevent professional patients’ participation right from the start. That’s where we can help.

RightPatient is the leading touchless patient identification platform used by healthcare providers. They are using it to protect millions of patient records and prevent duplicates in their EHR systems by ensuring that patients are identified correctly across the care continuum.  

Since RightPatient has both the experience and expertise, it can easily prevent professional patients from fraudulent participation. This leads not only to enhanced safety of the participants within the trials but also makes the data immaculate and reliable – speeding up the trials and reducing losses along the way.

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Verifying Patient Identity – Top 3 Benefits

The failure to accurately identify patients throughout the healthcare industry continues to result in medication and diagnosis errors, procedures on the wrong person, duplicate medical records, and health insurance fraud. Therefore, healthcare providers should properly collect and manage information for verifying patient identity to prevent medical identity theft, improve medical record accuracy, and comply with HIPAA.

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The amount of information flow in healthcare is greater than any other industry, but it all means nothing if a patient’s identity is compromised, or cannot be matched with their records. Verifying patient identity before starting a medical treatment or service is vital for ensuring a positive patient experience. The inability of healthcare providers to accurately identify their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in slow procedures, incorrect treatments, and even encouraged insurance fraudsters to take advantage of this chaotic situation. 

That being said, RightPatient has been helping healthcare providers keep accurate records connected with the correct identity for years now, ensuring effective health treatment and recovery. The coronavirus pandemic has also been a prime catalyst for the consideration of futureproof biometric identity management solutions, such as RightPatient, for verifying patient identity. The reason for this is that our solution helps providers maintain a hygienic environment and limit the spread of contagious diseases. Here’s what else RightPatient can do for your organization:

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Verifying patient identity to prevent medical identity theft

Even during this pandemic, security experts warn that the threat of medical identity theft is far from over, because attackers know they can take advantage of this situation. Healthcare providers, as well as patients, suffer from medical identity theft: the illegal access of a patient’s personally identifiable information and using this information to fraudulently obtain medical treatment, goods, or services. 

The cost of proper medical treatment is exorbitant, especially if not covered by health insurance. It results in claim denials and negatively affects a health system’s bottom line. That is why verifying an individual identity is crucial before providing any kind of service. Health care providers, such as Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) and the University Health Care System have successfully prevented many potential medical identity theft occurrences since using RightPatient. 

Reduces information discrepancies in medical records

Arguably, the most damaging concern for healthcare providers is incorrect and potentially life-altering information being put on someone’s medical record. Inaccurate records have been the root cause of incorrect treatments, delays in procedures, and even the creation of duplicate records and overlays. Medical records are very difficult to change as they are meant to be a permanent and comprehensive account of an individual’s healthcare history. Thus, verifying a patient’s identity and accurately matching their information with their medical records can help providers to avoid financial losses due to fraudulent claims and improve data integrity.

Verifying patient identity for compliance

In the U.S., various state, federal, and industry-specific compliance regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH have been established for verifying patient identity. Not complying with these Acts can lead to hefty financial penalties being issued, and in worst-case scenarios, criminal charges being filed. 

HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a federal law that provides security provisions and data privacy, to protect a patient’s medical information. It enables smooth transitions of electronic records and requires appropriate controls over the use and disclosure of medical records.

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Any organization that deals with protected health information (PHI) is required to comply with HIPAA’s rules and regulations. The law consists of several standard verification requirements for the disclosure of PHI. Under this subpart:

(i) Except with respect to disclosures under §164.510, verify the identity of a person requesting protected health information and the authority of any such person to have access to protected health information under this subpart, if the identity of any such authority of such person is not known to the covered entity;

Numerous stipulations suggest that it is lawful for organizations to take reasonable steps, such as using HIPAA compliance software and using platforms like RightPatient for verifying patient identity, to ensure compliance. HIPAA compliance also ensures that there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect PHI from unauthorized disclosure or breaches. 

RightPatient – touchless biometric patient identity management platform

RightPatient is the healthcare industry leader in biometric patient identification. RightPatient also offers remote identity validation and appointment scheduling solutions for telehealth practitioners to ensure positive clinical outcomes during this pandemic. The platform verifies patient identities by comparing their selfie photos and ID (e.g. driver’s license). It helps healthcare providers save money on more costly identity-proofing solutions through credit agencies.

Even without this pandemic, exercising due diligence is vital. With the threat of medical identity theft looming even greater than before, healthcare providers need to have the most risk-conscious and thorough procedures in place to mitigate fraud. With RightPatient, healthcare providers can confidently stand under the near-perpetual spotlight of public scrutiny.

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Patient Identity Management is More Important Than Ever – Are you Doing it Right?

Patient identity management, to put it very simply, refers to how patients are being identified in hospitals. However, anyone who knows the US healthcare system is familiar with the fact that it is quite a significant problem for the majority of healthcare providers. Lack of proper patient identity management is a problem not only for healthcare providers but for everyone involved in healthcare, including patients and insurance companies. While healthcare providers incur financial costs as well as the loss of goodwill, patients face financial costs as well as the wrong treatment and medications, hampering patient safety. Even though there are effective solutions, the coronavirus pandemic has rendered most of them ineffective. Let’s dive deep into why patient identification errors occur, how they have been solved until now, and why the future of patient identity management will be different (read touchless) due to COVID-19.

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Reasons for patient identification errors

Patient identification errors have always been present. Earlier, patient record mix-ups were the main reason when paper medical records were used. To put it simply, patient records were mixed up when the patients had common names and characteristics such as age, address, etc. Fast forward to the age of EHR (electronic health record) systems, where things have become quite complicated. Human errors, negligence, and relevant external factors have caused EHR systems to house duplicate medical records as well as overlays, causing patient identification errors to be more prevalent than ever. 

Duplicate medical records can be created for the same patient. For instance, if a patient goes to avail of healthcare services, the first thing the provider would do is identify the patient’s medical record. For various reasons, the EHR user cannot identify the correct medical record (say, the EHR user sees that there are multiple records for the same name). Either the hospital staff spends more time painstakingly searching for the right medical record, or else creates a new record, the latter leading to a duplicate being created. This duplicate will lead to fragmented data and patient care – neither the correct record will house the most recent data of the patient nor the new one will contain the entire medical history of the patient. All in all, this will hamper patient safety, and increase costs. 

Medical record overlays are created when multiple records are merged, and this can be for the same patient having duplicate records as well as a different patient having the same characteristics as another patient. As can be understood, overlays are quite dangerous as it mixes information from different patients.

On top of all that, the classic cases of patient mix-ups still exist. A few months ago, two patients got mixed up regarding a kidney transplant – the wrong patient got the kidney. Fortunately, nobody was hurt as the kidney was compatible with the wrong patient. This mix-up occurred due to the patients having similar names, age, as well as being lined up for kidney transplants, albeit on different dates. While both the patients surviving without major issues was a huge stroke of luck, not everyone is as fortunate. There have been many cases where mistaken patient identities caused deaths

All in all, patient identification errors cause a plethora of problems for everyone involved, which makes an effective patient identity management solution like RightPatient all the more crucial, especially in a post-COVID-19 world.

Common patient identity management solutions

By far, the most common and obsolete way of patient identification is asking patients questions. Even in this day and age, many hospitals are still using this simply ineffective method. Patients are asked to state their names, addresses, and other relevant data to crosscheck against present medical records. This is slow, tedious, and also dangerous – someone can just assume the identity of another patient and commit medical identity theft. Healthcare data breaches are quite common, and hackers steal patient data, only to sell it later on the black market. An impostor can just buy the data and assume the identity of the patient, and if this outdated way of identifying patients with questions is used, the actor cannot be detected easily.

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Another way healthcare providers identify patients is by using patient ID wristbands. While this might seem like a better patient identity management solution, it also has its flaws. To begin with, patient ID wristbands can be transferred, stolen, or lost. This can lead to medical identity theft as well. On top of that, it requires contact – something hospitals are quite wary of and now patients are too, given the coronavirus pandemic. Infection control issues have always been a headache for providers, but COVID-19 has made it a concern for the general public as well. For the next several years, people will be quite reluctant to touch anything, especially within hospitals. 

That brings us to touch-based biometric patient identification solutions like fingerprint and palm-vein scanning. While these are far more effective patient identity management platforms, as there is no way for anyone to fool biometrics, these too pose threats to patient safety. Even before COVID-19, one of the main factors healthcare providers considered before choosing a patient identification platform was how safe it was and whether any infection control issues would arise from using the platform. For both fingerprint and palm-vein scanning, patients had to touch the devices, leading to potential infection control issues. On top of that, cleaning the devices after every use would be a nightmare, to say the least.

The futureproof patient identity management solution

RightPatient is the most apt patient identification platform, moving forward. Why? Because RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform. It locks the medical records of the patients with their photos upon registration. Whenever a patient comes to the healthcare provider, all the patient needs to do is look at the camera and the platform identifies the correct medical record within seconds, making it the easiest, most seamless, and completely touchless experience.

Leading healthcare providers like Terrebonne General Medical Center, University Health Care System, and Community Medical Centers, among others, have chosen RightPatient because it creates no infection control issues – one of the benefits of being a touchless solution.

Moving forward, the majority of healthcare providers are opening up in phases, and they would need to ensure patient safety. Hospitals have already lost a lot of money due to the pandemic, and they need to start mitigating losses. RightPatient can help providers with that – by both ensuring accurate patient identification and eliminating any touch-based interactions required during the process. This helps reduce denied claims, improves the revenue cycle, and prevents medical identity theft. Mitigate losses now with RightPatient.

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Patient Identity Matching – Solving an unsolved crisis with RightPatient

Accurate patient identity matching holds paramount significance across the U.S. healthcare system. Delivering the best possible patient experience, including safety and outcome, hinges on the ability of the healthcare providers to keep and maintain accurate medical records. Healthcare providers continue to struggle to accurately match their patients’ identities to their health records, and blame it on inaccurate and incomplete patient data, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Physicians should be able to retrieve accurate records on each patient’s medical history, including lab results, diagnoses, medications, imaging, surgeries, etc. to deliver the best patient care. Needless to say, accurate patient identity matching during the COVID-19 crisis is vital for ensuring a positive patient experience.

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Can healthcare providers solve the patient identity matching crisis? Yes, and the solution is RightPatient – a leading touchless biometric patient identity management platform that has been successfully helping many leading hospitals address this specific issue.

Accurate patient identity matching ensures that the right patient is associated with the right medical records within a healthcare system. It means knowing with certainty that a piece of medical information belongs to the correct individual. There are many consequences if records are mismatched, such as incorrect treatment, improper data entries which can lead to the creation of duplicate records, and medical identity theft. Effective patient identity matching is not just about patient safety, it also helps healthcare providers avoid financial losses associated with duplicate records and claim denials from medical identity theft. 

How costly are patient identity matching errors?

Let us look at this example. A patient’s kidney was surgically removed by the time physicians realized that there was no tumor. This blunder in the operating room of Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., occurred when the patient’s CT scan was accidentally mixed up with the record of another patient who had the same name. The incident was widely reported in July 2016 when regulators came to investigate what exactly happened. Most people who read the accounts thought it was a rare blunder. But this type of blunder is not rare at all. 

Every day in medical clinics and hospitals, physicians assume they have an accurate picture of a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, lab results, and other information when they click into an electronic medical record (EMR). But this assumption can lead to fatal consequences, like the example mentioned above.

The problem is called patient identity matching error, a crisis that RightPatient has been addressing for years. One of the most severe match errors is when two patients’ medical records, with a similar or same name, get merged, leading to an erroneous organ removal or other nightmares. More common than this is the creation of duplicate medical records. For instance, Christina Elizabeth Smith, Cristina E. Smith, and C. E. Smith refers to the same individual, but her medical information is filed under three separate records. Neither the physician nor the patient will be aware of missing data points when they are discussing treatment decisions or procedures. 

The problem with common identifiers

Duplicate medical records can be created in many ways. One of the most common sources of duplicate records is making errors during the patient registration process. Other variations can be associated with identifying an unconscious patient when they are in the ER. Many times, duplicate records are also created due to demographic changes for the patient. Registrars face difficulties when patients change their last name or move to another place, so they create a new record for that individual. 

Patient identity matching errors can also occur when there is a variation in using common identifiers during the registration or identification process. A simple typo or mishearing the correct word can result in a mismatch in records. 

Common identifiers are also used to commit medical identity theft, an issue that healthcare providers have been trying to avoid for the past several years. A fraudster can easily get access to this type of information and fraudulently imitate someone else’s identity to get medication/benefits for their own use. 

These kinds of problems can be mitigated if common identifiers such as names, DOB, SSNs, or other demographic data used during the initial registration and identification process are replaced with the unique identifiers that RightPatient uses. For instance, identifying and authenticating an individual by using their iris pattern or a photo of their face. 

Accurate Patient Identity Matching with RightPatient

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identity management platform. Problems pertaining to duplicate records, medical identity theft, and record mismatch have been successfully mitigated by using RightPatient. Leading healthcare providers such as Terrebonne General Medical Center and The University Health Care System have successfully eliminated these sorts of problems and are continuously delivering the best experience for their patients with utmost clinical efficiency. 

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During the initial patient enrollment process, RightPatient will lock an individual’s medical records using their iris pattern or a photo of their face. Each time a patient arrives at the continuum of care, RightPatient will verify and authenticate their identity through an iris scanner, camera, or a webcam and retrieve their accurate medical records.

As a leader in the patient identity matching process, RightPatient helps healthcare providers to keep and maintain accurate medical records of their patients. Patient identity matching problems related to aggregating patient data via Health Information Exchanges (HIE) can be eliminated if all the healthcare providers adopt RightPatient, ensuring the best clinical outcome and data integrity across the healthcare system.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, touchless biometric technologies will play a key role in the next few years. RightPatient ensures safety and hygiene in a health facility by limiting physical contact between people and frequently touched high-risk surfaces, such as fingerprint scanners. Adopt RightPatient and make sure that one patient does not have multiple records in the master patient index (MPI) and that each piece of health information ends up in the correct patient record.

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Enhance Patient Safety – Are you using a touchless solution for patient identification?

We are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. In times of crisis, the ability to provide treatments quickly and delivering clear communication are crucial.  The U.S healthcare system is responding to this crisis by detecting, testing, treating, isolating, and mobilizing patients as well as healthcare staff members. However, how healthcare providers are identifying their patients remains a key concern. Are they using contact-dependent or touchless solutions? Touchless solutions for patient identification have many benefits over contact-dependent options. Especially during a pandemic, the most important one might be obvious – they are ideal for hygiene and infection control. This can play an important role in patient safety. 

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The COVID-19 outbreak has been a prime catalyst for the growth and adoption of touchless identification processes. Many healthcare providers are also looking for ways to enhance patient safety while they secure a patient’s identity and their medical records in a hygienic manner. Let’s examine both contact-dependent and touchless solutions for patient identification with regards to hygiene and infection control.

Infection control concerns about fingerprint and vein scanners

Fingerprint and vein recognition models for patient identification are currently used across the U.S. healthcare system. However, hygiene and infection control must be considered with these contact-dependent biometric scanners. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, numerous studies have determined that there is a risk of infection through commonly touched surfaces. Reports determined that this virus can survive from hours to days depending on the type of surface the particles land on. For fingerprint recognition, patients are required to touch a sensor that carries a level of surface contamination that is equivalent to door handles. 

Vein recognition, on the other hand, requires users to place their entire hand or finger on a plastic mold that helps with proper positioning over the biometric sensor. This increases the amount of contact-dependent surface area and overall risk. 

In addition, fingerprint and vein scanner surfaces need to be cleaned after each use to prevent the risk of infection transmission. This necessary precaution introduces an additional cost and resources burden for healthcare providers while preventing employees from focusing on more important tasks. 

Facial and iris recognition modalities for patient identification

Touchless patient identification systems such as facial or iris recognition, on the other hand, completely eliminate the risk of spreading infection by allowing patients to be identified without needing to touch anything. Furthermore, according to a study, iris recognition has a far better success rate for identification compared to fingerprint recognition. 

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Besides being more accurate, iris and facial recognition techniques will enable healthcare providers to identify their patients from a safe distance. By eliminating patient identification errors, hospitals can enhance patient safety while ensuring a hygienic environment, without even needing to constantly sanitize scanning devices or sensors. 

Enhance patient safety with RightPatient

Several studies suggest that touchless biometric identification is about to experience significant growth. Now that the difference between contact-dependent and touchless solutions is clear, choosing the right vendor will play an important role. Several leading hospitals have already experienced an improved revenue cycle by eliminating duplicate medical records and medical identity theft since using RightPatient – the leading touchless biometric patient identification platform. Some customers include Community Medical Centers, University Health Care System, and Terrebonne General Medical Center. 

Aspects of our lives that we have been taking for granted have been threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak. Our fears and concerns about spreading the virus have been elevated, and healthcare providers are taking any and all necessary steps to protect their patients and their staff members. Clearly understanding the risk factors associated with contact-dependent biometric patient identification devices and considering RightPatient’s touchless patient identification platform can be an effective way to reduce risk and enhance patient safety. 

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Correct Patient Identification is Crucial for Vaccine Administration

With over 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as of 22nd May 2020 and surrounding talks about reopening society, it remains a firm fact that without widespread contact tracing and safe vaccine administration, there is no getting back to the life we once knew as normal. Nevertheless, there is one major and longstanding hurdle to overcome for achieving either of both widespread contact tracing or safe vaccine administration goals, and that is correct patient identification.

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The importance of correct patient identification

The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-profit, non-governmental organization along with several other organizations have been looking for ways to improve patient matching through correct patient identification. Most importantly, they have stressed the fact that biometric technology is the key, including in a recent HIMSS20 Digital Presentation

PEW has again stressed that Congress should act to improve patient identification and patient matching. They sent a letter this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. According to the letter, thorough contact tracing in the short-term and nationwide vaccination administration in the long-term relies on having accurate patient demographic data, but the current flaws with correct patient identification and matching of patient records hinder the nation’s ability to achieve either of those goals.

Drawbacks of patient identification errors

Ben Moscovitch, Project Director for Health Information Technology at the Pew Charitable Trusts says “Matching is a problem today”. He says, according to research, half of the patient records may not match when transferred from one healthcare facility to another, thereby imposing unnecessary risk and potential harm to the patient. 

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Not having a correct patient identification technique in hospitals can cause discrepancies in data when hospitals try to match an individual’s record, and it may lead to the creation of another electronic health record (EHR) for the same patient (this is commonly known as creating a duplicate medical record in the system). Duplicate medical records drive up costs. Research has shown that duplicate medical records can cost hospitals $96 to fix each record, adding up to $1,000 to remove the data of two patients whose records have been merged together.

Key factors that can hinder the immunization process

A variety of factors can affect correct patient identification. When common identifiers such as name, DOB, and address are used, a simple typo or variation in how these identifiers are recorded during registration can lead to poor match rates. 

Another major problem with patient matching is the fact that many people have similar names, including the same date of birth. In a nation where nearly 48,000 people are named John Smith, correct patient identification is absolutely critical for an effective widespread vaccination program.

An effective large-scale nationwide vaccination program and immunization registry would depend on reliable and robust patient data, and successful administration of this program hinges on the ability of healthcare providers to locate the right patient record. Biometric technology has consistently proven effective in matching patient records through correct patient identification.

Why should you use biometric technology in a post-coronavirus society?

Contactless biometric technology is a hygienic way to ensure correct patient identification, limiting infection control risk during the identification process. As a pioneer in touchless biometric patient identification, the RightPatient platform offers iris and facial recognition for correct patient identification to ensure that patients can be identified without having to touch a common biometric device. 

RightPatient uses the biometric characteristics of a patient to prevent medical identity theft and duplicate medical records. Through the platform, patient identities can be validated remotely through their own personal devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, and PCs) after they schedule appointments. During in-person or telehealth visits, patients can be subsequently authenticated by simply capturing their photo. The solution significantly increases patient matching rates. 

Needless to say, contactless biometric technology for correct patient identification is the key to an effective nationwide vaccination program. Errors from common patient names, lack of demographic data standards, and human mistakes can be avoided with RightPaitent to strengthen the integrity of data related to vaccinations and COVID diagnoses. This will help to reduce costs and improve patient safety. 

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Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care – Contactless Patient Identification

The World Health Organization (WHO) published “Social Distancing” guidelines to limit the spread of this deadly COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Similar to many other countries, healthcare leaders in the U.S. have been in search of solutions for improving patient safety and quality of care while maintaining social distancing.

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Up until now, the use of biometric identification solutions has probably not been considered for preventing the spread of diseases in many workplaces. The rapid, worldwide spread of the Coronavirus has put hygiene and the ability to control the spread of contagious diseases at the forefront in the minds of many people across various industries. While many healthcare leaders have adopted technology in hospitals for improving patient safety and quality of care, a large number of healthcare providers still rely on antiquated solutions for patient identification.

Biometric technology is forecasted to grow across industries

Many industries are now considering biometric technologies for identification and authentication. Biometric identification as a service is already experiencing significant growth. With increased utilization of smart mobile devices and cloud-based intelligence platforms, biometric identification is now more accessible and scalable. Face or iris recognition techniques, in particular, are very effective in limiting the spread of contagious diseases.

According to the Future Market Insights (FMI), the COVID- 19 pandemic has accelerated the consideration of contactless biometric solutions because of the sudden need for social distancing. By the end of 2020, global spending on contactless biometric technologies is estimated to be $16.6 billion. 

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has stopped using fingerprint identification for staff members and employees entering the building, and is now using a contactless biometric system.

Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in hospitals

Improving patient safety and quality of care is more than simply making the patient happy. Healthcare providers need to understand that for a positive patient experience, ensuring patient safety protecting the patient from preventable harms is equally important.

Biometric patient identification can be a contactless process to identify patients fast and accurately. A contactless biometric patient identification platform does not require all patients to touch a biometric device during the identification process and accurately retrieves an individual’s medical records. While this process is a great way to control infection, it has also proven to be effective in preventing duplicate medical records and medical identity theft, thereby improving patient safety and quality of care.

RightPatient- the leading contactless biometric patient identification provider

RightPatient offers iris and facial recognition biometric patient identification solutions for healthcare providers. Several leading hospitals such as The University Health Care System and Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) are already improving patient safety and quality of care by using RightPatient.

RightPatient-improves-patient-safety-and-quality-of-care

 

During registration, the patient simply takes their picture. RightPatient quickly recognizes the patient and retrieves the correct medical record from the healthcare provider’s EHR system. The process is fast, simple, and contactless, which is ideal for infection control, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several leading hospitals have also improved fraud detection and prevented medical identity theft by using RightPatient. This platform is the key to securing patients’ medical records – and at a distance.

rightpatient-helping-the-frontline-fight-against-covid-19

Helping the Frontline Fight Against COVID-19

As we all come to grips with a new normal during this war with an unrelenting and invisible enemy, our thoughts are with those on the frontline who continue to risk their lives to save others. 

To all healthcare providers involved in this battle, we extend our deepest gratitude for your hard work, bravery, and sacrifice.

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Source: pexels.com

As a company, we have been discussing ways that we can help. One of our partners, CloudApper, has made an app called CliniGuard to help improve the safety and communication of frontline clinical teams during this crisis.

CliniGuard can help these resources to:

  • Quickly access up-to-date information on COVID-19 (knowledge base)
  • Easily share best practices and experiences
  • Document and notify others of incidents, accidents, and observations
  • Access checklists to improve training and ensure protocols are being followed correctly
  • Perform internal audits to address issues before they escalate
  • Centralize and automate communication efforts

As a small token of our appreciation, we are pleased to offer the CliniGuard app to RightPatient customers at no cost. 

Providers can be up-and-running on the CliniGuard app in a matter of hours. We hope that the availability of this app will help in the effort to save lives during the pandemic. 

Thank you to those on the frontline and working behind the scenes to save lives.