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Embracing Telemedicine - Navigating Identity Theft Challenges in Virtual Healthcare

Embracing Telemedicine: Navigating Identity Theft Challenges in Virtual Healthcare

Embracing Telemedicine - Navigating Identity Theft Challenges in Virtual Healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a global accelerator for many technologies. Telemedicine is one such area that has experienced an unprecedented surge. 

Embracing Telemedicine - Navigating Identity Theft Challenges in Virtual Healthcare

While it has unlocked countless possibilities for convenient and remote healthcare, it has also brought about new challenges, particularly around patient identity security. 

Ensuring the right patient receives the right care at the right time is crucial, making it important to explore novel solutions for identity protection. 

Telemedicine and Identity Theft: Understanding the Connection

The cyber world, while full of opportunities, is also a playground for cybercriminals. As healthcare has moved online, the issue of identity theft has come to the forefront.

Cybercriminals seek to exploit vulnerabilities in telemedicine platforms to steal patient identities. They use this information to make fraudulent insurance claims, procure prescription medications illegally, or sell on the dark web. This not only harms patients but also poses significant legal and financial challenges for healthcare providers.

The importance of securing identity cannot be overstated. This becomes even more important in the realm of virtual healthcare where data breaches are prominent. A proactive approach is necessary to provide high-quality care without compromising data. 

Essential Steps to Secure Identity in Telemedicine

Identity security is of paramount importance in virtual healthcare. As telemedicine platforms become more sophisticated, so too do the tactics of cybercriminals. Therefore, healthcare providers must employ robust strategies to prevent identity theft. 

Utilizing Identity Theft Protection Software

With identity theft being a major concern in virtual healthcare, the use of identity theft protection software can act as a vital line of defense. Such software monitors and alerts users about suspicious activities related to personal information. It can significantly reduce the potential for fraud by detecting and responding to threats in real-time.

Several options are available, including LifeLock by Norton, which is one of the most recognizable brands in the market. Nonetheless, it has its shortcomings, including its price. Exploring an expert’s perspective on LifeLock competitors can provide helpful insights on other alternatives worth considering. 

Implementing Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) increases security during system access. This strategy requires users to provide two or more credentials to confirm their identity, making it harder for unauthorized users to gain access. It might involve elements that the user is familiar with (such as a password), possesses (for example, a smart card), or attributes that are inherent to them (like their fingerprint).

MFA is an effective strategy because it reduces the risk of successful impersonation by hackers. Even if one factor is compromised, the hacker cannot access the account because of the need for another authentication. 

Adopting Biometric Identification

Biometric identification is becoming a critical component of identity security strategies, and rightly so. It uses unique physical or behavioral characteristics of individuals, such as facial recognition, iris patterns, or voice recognition, to verify identities.

RightPatient, a leader in patient identification verification, utilizes advanced biometric technology to accurately identify patients during telemedicine interactions. This system ensures that the individual accessing healthcare services is indeed the right patient, significantly reducing the chances of identity theft.

By collecting and verifying unique biometric data, RightPatient provides an added layer of security that is not only strong but also user-friendly. It bolsters trust among patients and providers, thus enhancing the overall telemedicine experience. 

Regular System Updates and Patch Management

Keeping telemedicine systems updated is crucial for security. Each update not only adds new features but also patches vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit. Therefore, healthcare providers should have a systematic process to regularly update and patch all software, hardware, and applications used in their telemedicine practice.

Implementing Data Encryption

Data encryption is a powerful tool in the prevention of identity theft. It transforms data into an encoded format, which can only be accessed or decrypted with a decryption key. This ensures that even if data gets into the wrong hands, it cannot be interpreted or used, thus safeguarding patient identities.

Secure Network Infrastructure

Building a secure network infrastructure is fundamental for virtual healthcare security. This includes deploying firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and secure virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect against unauthorized access and ensure data safety.

Limiting Data Access

Implementing the principle of least privilege (PoLP) can greatly enhance security. Under PoLP, each user is granted the minimum levels of access necessary to complete their job functions. This approach reduces the risk of internal data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Educating Patients and Staff

Patient and staff education is critical. Providing regular training on recognizing phishing attempts, securing personal devices, and maintaining secure connections can drastically reduce the risk of identity theft. Being aware of the threats and understanding how to respond can often be the most potent defense against cybercrime.

The Future of Identity Security in Telemedicine

The evolution of telemedicine brings with it an array of opportunities and challenges. As the sector grows, the need for robust and reliable identity security practices will continue to be a pressing concern. However, the future is also rich with potential solutions, marked by innovative technologies and methodologies that could reshape the landscape of telemedicine security.

Emerging Technologies: The New Frontier

Among these solutions, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in identity security shows great promise. AI can be trained to recognize patterns and detect anomalies in data, providing an additional layer of security against sophisticated cyber threats.

Similarly, blockchain technology could revolutionize how patient data is stored and shared. By creating an immutable, decentralized ledger of data transactions, blockchain can provide enhanced security, transparency, and trust in telemedicine interactions.

Additionally, the advent of quantum computing could lead to quantum encryption – a seemingly unbreakable encryption method. However, it could also challenge current encryption methodologies, necessitating new approaches to data security.

Evolving Cyber Threats: The Call for Adaptation

Just as technologies advance, so do the tactics of cybercriminals. Phishing attacks, ransomware, and sophisticated hacking techniques are becoming more prevalent. In response, telemedicine must adapt and innovate continuously to stay ahead of these evolving threats.

To this end, healthcare providers must not only invest in the latest technologies but also continuous training for their staff. Furthermore, the need for regular audits and updates to security protocols will remain crucial to identifying and addressing vulnerabilities promptly.

Conclusion 

Navigating identity theft challenges in telemedicine calls for robust security strategies and continual innovation. Embracing the right tools and technologies can greatly mitigate risks. As telemedicine evolves, so must our efforts to safeguard patient identity, ensuring a secure and trustworthy healthcare environment.

Patient-Centric Health Insurance - Enhancing Access and Personalization

Patient-Centric Health Insurance: Enhancing Access and Personalization

Patient-Centric Health Insurance - Enhancing Access and Personalization

In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, traditional health insurance models have been prevalent for decades, focusing primarily on providers and payers. However, these models often overlook an essential stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem – the patient. With the increasing need for individualized healthcare, a more patient-centric approach to health insurance is garnering attention. 

Patient-Centric Health Insurance - Enhancing Access and Personalization

Understanding Patient-Centric Health Insurance

Patient-centric health insurance prioritizes the needs, preferences, and convenience of patients over other considerations. It goes beyond merely providing medical coverage to encompass wellness initiatives, personalized care plans, digital access to healthcare services, and a strong emphasis on patient empowerment.

Traditional health insurance typically centers on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. The system often disregards the uniqueness of individual patient experiences and needs. Conversely, patient-centric health insurance acknowledges that healthcare is not a uniform service and aims to tailor insurance packages to the patient’s unique healthcare journey.

By being patient-centric, the needs of the customers are in the limelight. For instance, this is possible through online health insurance quotes. This way, people can shop and compare policies anytime and anywhere, improving accessibility. 

Adopting a patient-centric model brings several benefits. These include improved patient satisfaction due to more personalized care, potentially better health outcomes as patients feel more engaged in their healthcare decisions, and more efficient resource allocation due to a deeper understanding of patient needs.

The Importance of Access to Patient-Centric Health Insurance

In a patient-centric model, access is a fundamental pillar. This approach broadens the definition of access beyond just the financial capability to afford healthcare. 

Access here implies a comprehensive, integrated system that prioritizes patient convenience and care. It recognizes the fact that for effective healthcare delivery, patients should not only have affordable coverage but also convenient access to healthcare providers, medications, healthcare facilities, and critical digital healthcare resources. 

For instance, patient-centric health insurance may include coverage for a broad network of physicians, specialists, and hospitals, minimizing the distance patients have to travel for care. 

It might also cover a wide range of medications, ensuring patients can access necessary treatments without financial strain. 

Furthermore, with the increasing digitization of healthcare, such an approach may include benefits like online consultation services, digital health records, or even AI-driven personal health recommendations, all aimed at fostering a more holistic and patient-friendly approach to healthcare.

Personalization in Patient-Centric Health Insurance

In patient-centric insurance, personalization acts as a powerful tool to meet and exceed patient expectations. It breaks away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ paradigm that traditionally governs health insurance. Instead, it adopts a bespoke approach that tailors insurance packages to the unique needs of individual patients. 

This level of personalization can manifest in various ways. For instance, it may involve offering coverage for specific medications that a patient regularly requires or creating tailored network offerings that include specialists relevant to a patient’s particular health condition. 

Further, it could mean providing coverage for alternative therapies if a patient prefers non-conventional treatment methods.

In an age where preventative healthcare is being promoted, patient-centric insurance can also offer personalized wellness programs. These programs may include lifestyle coaching, personalized diet, and exercise plans, mental health support, or chronic disease management programs. 

Some insurers also offer rewards or discounts for engaging in healthy behaviors, creating a powerful incentive for patients to proactively manage their health.

Personalization can even extend to the digital realm, with some insurers offering digital tools that allow patients to manage their coverage, book appointments, or even consult with healthcare professionals online. These features can provide significant convenience and enhance patient engagement with their health.

The Role of Policy and Regulatory Changes

A discussion of patient-centric health insurance would be incomplete without recognizing the influence of health policies and regulatory changes. These governmental decisions can significantly impact the direction of health insurance, facilitating greater patient centricity.

Governmental Support for Patient-Centric Initiatives

Government bodies can support patient-centric initiatives by providing incentives for health insurance providers that prioritize access and personalization. These incentives could take the form of tax breaks, grants, or subsidies.

Regulations Promoting Transparency and Interoperability

Regulatory changes that promote transparency and interoperability in the healthcare sector can also contribute to enhanced patient-centric care. 

Transparency allows patients to make informed decisions about their health insurance. Meanwhile, interoperability ensures a seamless flow of patient data across different healthcare platforms, facilitating a more personalized approach to patient care.

How Technology Improves Access and Personalization

The intersection of healthcare and technology presents a myriad of opportunities to enhance the accessibility and personalization aspects of health insurance. 

By leveraging technological advancements, insurers can break down traditional barriers. Consequently, they can also offer more personalized care and enhance accessibility. 

Data and Analytics

One of the most significant technological assets at our disposal today is data. With the enormous amount of health data generated, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to use this information to enhance personalization and access to health insurance.

Data analytics can help insurers delve deep into this data, identifying trends and patterns that can predict individual health needs. 

For instance, by analyzing a patient’s medical history, lifestyle choices, and even genetic information, insurers can predict potential health risks the patient may face in the future. This insight can guide the development of personalized insurance packages that cater specifically to these needs, ensuring each patient has access to the care they may require.

Furthermore, data analytics can aid in the detection of population health trends. For example, if an analysis reveals an increase in diabetes in a certain region, insurers can design plans with robust diabetes coverage, ensuring the population’s specific needs are met.

Telehealth and Digital Access

Telehealth, fueled by advances in digital technology, plays a pivotal role in improving access to health services. 

It allows patients, particularly those in remote or underserved areas, to consult with healthcare professionals without the need to travel. They can receive professional medical advice, undergo virtual examinations, and even receive certain types of treatments from the comfort of their homes.

Telehealth not only increases healthcare access but also enhances convenience, reduces travel-related expenses and time, and minimizes potential delays in receiving care. This is especially critical for patients managing chronic conditions that require regular medical consultations.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies in healthcare is a game-changer. These technologies can enhance the capabilities of predictive analytics, enabling insurers to provide more effective and personalized insurance packages.

AI and machine learning can help analyze vast datasets, identify complex patterns and predict future health issues based on current data. This predictive capability is invaluable in developing preventive healthcare strategies and designing personalized insurance plans. 

For instance, an AI model could predict an individual’s risk for heart disease based on factors like age, family history, lifestyle habits, and biometric data. Insurers can use this information to offer a personalized insurance plan that includes coverage for heart disease management and prevention.

Additionally, AI can also power digital tools that provide personalized health advice, reminders for medication, appointment scheduling, and even real-time online health insurance quotes, further enhancing accessibility and personalization.

Conclusion

Patient-centric health insurance is a promising approach that seeks to revolutionize the healthcare landscape by prioritizing the patient’s needs, enhancing access to services, and promoting personalized care. 

As technology and patient empowerment continue to advance, we can anticipate a future where healthcare is more individualized, accessible, and effective, ultimately leading to improved patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

The patient-centric model of health insurance is not just a trend; it’s a necessary evolution that echoes the call for personalization in modern healthcare.

The Importance of Utilizing a Patient Identification Platform During Hospital Admittance

The Importance of Utilizing a Patient Identification Platform During Hospital Admittance

The Importance of Utilizing a Patient Identification Platform During Hospital Admittance

It’s important to get things right from the start within the hospital setting. The moment a new patient walks through the door the hospital assumes a degree of responsibility for their health. Much attention is given to the quality of care, and the overall cost of medicine in the United States, but there is a fundamental consideration that many people don’t think of:

Proper identification. It’s important to accurately match patients with their medical records, both for the purposes of HIPAA-protected privacy and to provide them with the best possible care. Patient identification platforms are systems that provide healthcare providers with the resources they need to accurately identify patients. 

The Importance of Utilizing a Patient Identification Platform During Hospital Admittance

In this article, we take a look at why patient identification platforms play a vital role in the hospital admittance process

Enhancing Patient Safety and Quality of Care

Accurate patient identification is vital in ensuring that everyone who walks into the hospital is given care that is specific both to what brought them in and their overall health history. Proper medical intervention exists on a spectrum of continuity that begins the moment a person is born. 

Biometrics and other unique patient identifiers serve as a fingerprint of sorts, allowing hospitals to quickly identify everyone who comes through from there. 

Once identity has been established patients benefit from: 

  • Reduced capacity for error: There are loads of things that can go wrong when a hospital doesn’t have the right background information on a patient. Improperly administered medication, and incorrectly applied procedures. When identity is established at the point of entry, hospitals can move forward with treatment strategies in full confidence. 
  • Improved continuity of care: Again, it’s the idea that a person’s healthcare journey begins the moment they are born. In a practical sense, this continuity includes everything from patient allergies to pre-existing health conditions. In other words, vital information that hospitals need to coordinate their efforts and make informed decisions. 

Without this continuity, it would be all too easy for a hospital to accidentally give a patient a medication they are allergic to, or perhaps simply perform tests that are expensive and redundant. 

Improving Operational Efficiency and Workflow

Beyond the benefits that patients receive, there is also simply an administrative value to knowing exactly who is being treated. Hospitals rely on efficiency to deal with their workload and deliver the highest possible level of patient care. 

In a world where nurses are calling 911 to get assistance in an understaffed ER (an episode that took place not so long ago in the state of Washington), hospitals need every edge they can get to maximize their efficiency and streamline their processes. 

By automating and standardizing patient identification, hospitals:

  • Save time and resources: Without the benefit of a patient identification platform, hospitals are beholden to manual processes of identity verification. This can take a significant amount of effort on the part of the hospital employee, and it is also just a process subject to human error. 
  • Improve their workflow: Patient identification integrates with electronic record-keeping systems to establish a streamlined exchange of information. This eliminates the risk of data silos (information documented but inaccessible) and accelerates the workflow between hospital departments. 

When it comes to securing the best possible patient outcomes, every second counts. Patient identification platforms quantifiably streamlined efforts and make it easier for hospital employees to do their jobs quickly and accurately. 

Securing Patient Data and Protecting Privacy

Patient identification platforms have a robust set of HIPAA-compliant safety features that are designed to protect patients and their private information. 

Encryption plays an important role in restricting access to sensitive information while still ensuring that people who need the data (the patient, doctors, nurses, administrators) can access it. 

Data security within the world of healthcare is important for many reasons. For one thing, digital technology, though convenient, creates unique points of vulnerability that didn’t exist twenty years ago. It used to be that patient information existed only in a physical form and could be locked away, out of reach to those who weren’t supposed to have it. 

In the abstract world of cloud-based technology, information is literally everywhere. HIPAA-compliant software helps to marry convenience with safety. 

It also just helps to foster trust between patients and the hospitals that serve them. While this bond is hard to quantify it is a vital element in ensuring that people continue feeling comfortable using the hospitals that are there to serve them. 

Patient identification platforms like RightPatient, in that sense, are the right form of innovation. They make things easier for hospitals while protecting, and indeed, enhancing, the rights of patients. For instance, RightPatient uses patient photos and attaches them to patients’ medical records during registration. Whenever a patient returns, the platform scans their photo, runs a biometric search, and provides the accurate EHR shortly – it’s that easy!

Revolutionizing Patient Care with Telehealth Nursing

Revolutionizing Patient Care with Telehealth Nursing

Revolutionizing Patient Care with Telehealth Nursing

Telehealth is more accessible than ever before. Medical facilities today have robust IT infrastructures, making it easy for patients to get their medical questions answered via video chat, phone, or email. However, telehealth doesn’t always have to involve talking to a doctor— many questions can be resolved by speaking with a nurse. 

Revolutionizing Patient Care with Telehealth Nursing

Patient care has changed a lot over the last few years, in large part thanks to the expansion of telehealth. Here’s how telehealth nursing is helping to revolutionize patient care and make medical advice much more accessible.

Understanding the Concept of Telehealth Nursing

Telehealth nursing is simply nursing care that’s delivered remotely. Instead of needing to be in the same physical location as the patient, a skilled nurse can connect virtually to provide medical advice, answer questions, and help to determine if the individual patient needs to be seen in person. While not all medical needs can be resolved using telehealth, these remote care options are cutting down on the number of traditional visits that are needed to keep patients healthy. 

In many cases, telehealth is used when people aren’t sure if they need to go into the doctor’s office for an exam or for treatment. By reaching out to a nurse via telehealth, they can get triaged without having to leave home.  Telehealth is also a go-to option for ongoing patient monitoring. 

Telehealth can be used to get a remote diagnosis for minor ailments and recommendations for home remedies or over-the-counter medications. Nurses can also work with doctors to provide prescriptions for certain common health problems over the phone. 

The concept of telehealth is simple and effective, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that more healthcare facilities and health insurance providers began to offer and support it more widely. Today, more and more visits are being conducted remotely due to the many benefits it offers. 

Benefits of Telehealth Nursing

Telehealth offers many benefits to patients, providers, and even insurers. Many patients prefer to have most of their appointments take place online as well. According to one 2022 survey, 94% of patients who used telehealth services were interested in using them in the future. 

Telehealth nursing provides a range of benefits, such as: 

  • Convenience— patients don’t have to leave the comfort of home if they have a medical question or aren’t sure if they need to go to the doctor. Sometimes, they can even get a complete treatment plan over the phone, avoiding a doctor’s visit altogether. 
  • Shorter wait times— patients can get the answers they need quickly without having to wait for an appointment. This means less anxiety and quicker symptom relief.  
  • Fewer delays in treatment— patients are more likely to be proactive in seeking treatment via a telehealth nurse line. This means that they are able to treat their illnesses more quickly, often avoiding complications and the need for invasive procedures. Overall, this leads to better outcomes and overall health. 
  • Enhanced personalization— healthcare providers can use electronic patient records to make personalized recommendations remotely instead of patients turning to sources like WebMD. Telehealth also makes collaborations among providers much simpler. 
  • Reduces appointment delays— Nurses save time using telehealth and are less likely to fall behind during the day. 
  • Streamlines monitoring for chronic conditions— patients can consult with a nurse remotely rather than needing to go in for every follow-up visit. It also makes following up with patients easier for nurses.
  • Better preventative care— when people can discuss health topics with nurses remotely, they are more likely to engage in lifestyle choices that enhance health and well-being. 
  • Lower costs— telehealth visits are cheaper than in-office visits, which benefits both patients and insurance companies. 
  • Increase access to healthcare— one of the biggest benefits of telehealth is its ability to expand care access. Many people, especially those living in rural areas, now have much better access to the care they need, helping to reduce health disparities. 

Mental Health Support via Telehealth Nursing

Since the pandemic, many mental health support services have moved online— to the point that many providers no longer offer in-person services. Nurses who specialize in mental health and psychiatric care often prefer to conduct their appointments online for everyone’s convenience and comfort. 

The expansion of mental health services via telehealth is revolutionizing this type of care. More people are able to seek the services they need, which helps to break down stereotypes and stigmas. With many nurses and other providers offering telehealth support, our communities are better able to maintain their mental health and well-being. 

Better Health, More Independence, Fewer Frustrations

Telehealth offers patients the opportunity to maintain their health more easily and worry less about small problems that come up in their daily lives. People who need ongoing monitoring for chronic health conditions can enjoy more independence via wearable devices, remote monitoring, and telehealth visits. People of all ages can get ongoing help for mental health concerns or easily reach a provider when they’re in crisis. 

While telehealth has its limitations (some issues definitely need to be diagnosed and treated in person!), it is truly revolutionizing the ways that nurses can provide care to patients. Healthcare organizations need to be vigilant in maintaining patients’ privacy through cybersecurity and training to ensure that telehealth is secure and protects patients’ sensitive data. 

Now that telehealth has grown in popularity, we are seeing how it can be integrated into nursing care plans. Instead of focusing on reactive care, today’s healthcare delivery is increasingly focused on personalized, preventative medicine that helps people build and maintain good health and overall quality of life.

Types of Fraud and Abuse in Healthcare

Types of Fraud and Abuse in Healthcare

Types of Fraud and Abuse in Healthcare

There are different types of fraud and abuse in healthcare, but the most prevalent ones are those committed by health insurance and healthcare facilities. These two types of malpractice in the healthcare system are not propagated by the organizations only. Rather, even customers can commit healthcare fraud. 

What is fraud in healthcare? This is a crime committed by patients/customers, medical providers, medical insurance providers, and other parties to get financial or other benefits not due to them from the healthcare system. 

Types of Fraud and Abuse in Healthcare

The common types of abuse in the system include claims for services not given, for instance, a service provider charging for employee mental health while knowing they did not offer any.

It also includes giving false information in the medical records, giving false information for one to be eligible for some services. 

While there are many areas of healthcare fraud and abuse, the ones elaborated below are the most common:

1. Billing for services not rendered

Also referred to as upcoding, this is the most common medical malpractice all over the world. This type of fraud is targeted at the government, to make money illegally for services not rendered. 

It can also be a case of billing for a costlier service whereas a cheap[er cost was provided. Unless the patients recognize this kind of fraud and report it, it might be hard for the concerned authorities to know. 

As the customer, you should peruse your bill keenly looking for anomalies such as services listed, which you are sure you never received. 

If you notice such, ask about it immediately. Sometimes, genuine mistakes do happen. However, if they do not rectify the bill, you should escalate, and report the matter. 

Ignoring such mistakes can have a big ripple effect because you can be charged high health insurance premiums. 

Precisely, to upcode is to submit codes for more serious illnesses, while in actual sense, the illness treated was lesser. This creates a heavy strain on the medical systems as resources are going where they are not needed. 

2. Billing for medically unnecessary services

The doctor might provide certain services and bill for them. However, if they were medically unnecessary, that is fraud. The government is billed for a cost that should not have been there in the first place. 

The healthcare provider acts as the bridge between the federal systems such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the patients. 

The two will only pay for medically necessary services, but as suggested by the provider. Therefore, hospitals commit fraud by recommending tests and services that are hardly related to the condition you are suffering from. 

A hospital or a doctor may commit fraud by recommending medical products or services that a patient does not need. 

Perhaps they do this because a pharmaceutical company has promised them a kickback, or some other form of reimbursement. This is against federal healthcare rules and regulations. 

3. Doctor receiving kickbacks

It is illegal for a doctor to refer patients for a certain service when they know they do not need it, for a certain payment. 

To cite a case example, in 2021, National Medical Care, Inc. was charged with paying doctors and nurses kickbacks to recommend intravenous nutrition to dialysis patients under Medicare. In fact, the successor to NMC, Inc. (Fresenius Medical Care), had to pay $385 million to settle claims out of court. 

On the other hand, it is also illegal for doctors or healthcare facilities to pay others to refer Medicare patients to them. 

In Texas, the Anti-Kickback Statute imposes a criminal penalty on any person or facility that offers anything of value to solicit a referral under the government healthcare program. 

If patients discover such underhand matters taking place, or they suspect that Medicare or Medicaid is being billed for a service that was not necessary, they should blow the whistle on their healthcare provider. 

When the doctor receives a gift, cash, equity, or any other benefit in order to use a certain medical device on a patient or make any decision about the patient, that is considered a kickback. 

If it caused the doctor to act in the interests of the giver rather than of the patient, they would have to prove that it wasn’t a kickback. 

Despite many prosecutions being instigated against such schemes, kickbacks are so rampant in the medical industry and most pass undetected. 

4. Not charging patients properly for prescriptions

Many times, many healthcare providers have been found culpable of giving patients who were not under Medicare or Medicaid discounts. 

It was found that such patients would pay lower amounts for prescriptions after getting in-house discounts. At the same time, the same healthcare facility would not extend the same discounted rates for patients under Medicare and Medicaid systems. 

It is against the rules to charge patients anything above market rates for medication. It is also against the healthcare rules to charge patients under Medicaid and Medicare a higher rate than other patients. In such cases, a False Claims Act case might be instituted against the pharmacy in question. 

If found guilty, such a facility or person will be liable to pay a fine that is three times the government damages and a penalty that’s related to inflation. 

5. Nurses doing examinations yet billing the government for doctor services

Today, it has become almost routine for nurses to handle many outpatient examinations. However, this is against the federal healthcare rules to bill the government for doctor services when it was actually a nurse or other staff that did the work. 

This does not mean that it is okay for a nurse to do a physician’s work if the government is not being billed for it. It could lead to misdiagnosis as patients are more likely to be handled by under-trained staff. 

Patients are encouraged to whistle-blow on such providers if they find out that the person taking them through certain procedures is not a physician. 

6. Medical identity theft

Medical identity theft means the use of a patient’s medical identifiable information to obtain prescriptions that are not due to them. 

The identity thief then bills the government for the services rendered, pretending to be the patient whose medical ID they have stolen. 

Medical identity theft is not only about the fraudulent use of patient data. It is also a misuse of physician identifiers to write prescriptions for services and drugs. Such can also be used to falsely refer patients for procedures, or even bill for services not rendered. 

It is the mandate of the healthcare provider to keep all of their healthcare workers’ and patients’ data safe. 

Several healthcare providers are utilizing touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. By identifying patients accurately, hospitals and health systems can red-flag fraudsters and stop them from accessing patient services – preventing medical identity theft

7. Unbundling

This is another type of fraud that is rampant in the medical industry. When a doctor offers several procedures and bills them separately rather than under one qualifiable code, that is called unbundling. 

Usually, this happens when the payment for the procedures is higher if they are billed separately than when they are billed under the “group code.” In that way, the healthcare provider makes more money than necessary. It is against the federal healthcare rules. 

Unbundling is also rampant in the laboratories that fail to bill for panels of tests in a bundle. Instead, they bill them separately to make more money. 

Conclusion

So much for fraud in healthcare, but what is abuse in healthcare? Abuse is any action that goes against the values of healthcare practice. 

It includes things like not keeping proper records, claims for services not rendered or rendered but not medically necessary, bad billing habits, and many others. 

Abuse and fraud in the medical and healthcare industries do tend to overlap at times. But the common denominator is that someone is benefiting financially. 

Common Issues That Impact Patient Safety and How to Solve Them

Common Issues That Impact Patient Safety and How to Solve Them

Common Issues That Impact Patient Safety and How to Solve Them

The last several decades have brought a number of amazing advances in healthcare ranging from new, more effective treatments to the integration of AI technology. Unfortunately, while the field has made substantial progress, patients still face some risks during the process of receiving care and engaging with healthcare providers. 

Common Issues That Impact Patient Safety and How to Solve Them

Gaining awareness around some recurring issues can help one avoid these potential mishaps and stay safe throughout one’s patient journey. 

Here are common issues that impact patient safety and how to solve them.

Cybersecurity Threats and the Vulnerability of Patient Data

In recent times, one of the most impactful advances in healthcare has been the widespread adoption of electronic health records. Given their digital nature, these types of records make many processes — such as switching healthcare providers or seeing a specialist — far easier. Unfortunately, the fact that healthcare organizations typically house large amounts of private patient information on their databases makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. 

For patients, this means being at a higher risk of having one’s private information compromised. As one can imagine, this is a significant issue in today’s healthcare landscape and many organizations are actively looking for solutions to solve it. 

Fortunately, the problem of having one’s data vulnerable in the healthcare system can be solved in several key ways. On top of having robust cybersecurity defenses installed, healthcare organizations must thoroughly train all staff in how to engage with computer systems safely. 

The more skilled and educated healthcare employees are at keeping systems safe, the safer patients and their private data will be. 

A Lack of Patient Education and Its Impact on Patient Care

As the world has evolved, so has our understanding of health and the habits that promote well-being and longevity. Unfortunately, some portions of the population still lack educational resources about health and, as a result, aren’t aware of some key health-related insights. 

This lack of education can result in the development of unhealthy practices and habits that ultimately impact health. These include the consumption of tobacco products, a lack of regular exercise, and a belief that medical check-ups aren’t necessary. When factors such as these culminate, they can result in negative health outcomes and a significant impact on patients’ safety. 

To help combat this issue, healthcare organizations must develop practices that help educate patients about how to take care of their bodies and engage with their healthcare providers. Ultimately, this can substantially improve the safety of patients across the country and impart them with the skills to maintain good health throughout their lives. 

Telehealth and the Digital Divide

For many patients who live in rural areas, finding consistent access to healthcare and its associated resources has been incredibly difficult. To solve this issue, many healthcare organizations have utilized telehealth, the practice of providing healthcare through electronic technology, to help provide rural patients with medical care. 

Sadly, many of these rural residents don’t have access to the digital technology they need to receive telehealth services. For those that do, finding a reliable internet connection can be a near-impossible task. As a result, using telehealth as the main solution to the problem of rural healthcare is leaving many patients without a means of receiving robust medical care. This, in turn, leaves them at a higher risk of developing serious ailments and experiencing negative health outcomes. 

To solve this critical public health issue, healthcare organizations must engage in practices that make telehealth services more equitable for all patients. This can include setting up the infrastructure for high-speed internet in rural areas, providing residents with access to digital technology, and educating patients on how to engage in telehealth practices to experience optimal health outcomes and increase their level of safety. 

Healthcare Professional Burnout and Its Effect on Patient Care

Among healthcare professionals ranging from doctors to nurses, burnout is a dishearteningly common experience. Oftentimes, it is brought upon by shortages in trained professionals, leaving employees forced to work more hours. While the problem of burnout obviously has a devastating impact on healthcare workers, it can also negatively impact the safety of patients when they receive care. 

Specifically, healthcare professionals who are experiencing burnout are more likely to make a mistake when providing care to patients, which can ultimately lead them to experience negative health outcomes. Some common mistakes that healthcare professionals experiencing burnout might make include giving patients the wrong medication, communicating ineffectively, and misdiagnosing ailments. 

Thankfully, there are some potent strategies that healthcare organizations can take advantage of to mitigate employee burnout and the risks to patient safety that are associated with it. One powerful practice is implementing a monitoring system for employee burnout. 

In this case, healthcare leaders periodically check in with employees and monitor them for signs of burnout. These practices coupled with other strategies, such as more supportive cultures and improved workload management, can greatly improve the work experience of healthcare professionals and the safety of patients. 

Patient Safety Should Be a Top Priority

While there’s no argument that the healthcare field has evolved significantly over the decades, there are still looming risks that pose a threat to patient safety. By making patient safety a priority and putting effort into solving key safety issues, healthcare organizations can help improve the lives of masses of people. For instance, many healthcare providers are using biometric patient identification platforms to ensure patient data integrity and improve patient safety. 

As time goes on, many hope that new and effective solutions to the problem of safety will be implemented to help transform healthcare as we know it today. 

How Technology Will Transform Patient Care in Rural Areas

How Technology Will Transform Patient Care in Rural Areas

How Technology Will Transform Patient Care in Rural Areas

Over the last several decades, technology in the healthcare space has steadily been evolving. In recent years, however, this evolution has seemingly exploded with incredible technology now enabling medical professionals to aid patients in profound ways.

How Technology Will Transform Patient Care in Rural Areas

One demographic of American patients that is in dire need of increased healthcare resources is those in rural areas. Gaining perspective on how new technology in healthcare can help provide rural residents with the care they need can give one a more nuanced perspective on the way technology is impacting healthcare.

Here is how technology will transform patient care in rural areas.

Telehealth is Making Rural Healthcare More Accessible

In rural areas, there are a number of barriers standing between residents and healthcare. One of the most difficult challenges is a lack of medical facilities and medical professionals located in rural areas. Oftentimes, this means that rural residents will have to travel for several hours just to see a doctor.

As one can imagine, the resources needed to build new medical facilities are immense. To make matters worse, not many medical professionals are keen on living in rural areas, and it could take years to build new facilities even if the proper funds were secured.

Thankfully, telehealth has presented itself as a potent and effective solution that can help solve the issue of a lack of rural healthcare facilities. Essentially, telehealth is the practice of providing healthcare through the use of electronic technology. 

In its most common forms, telehealth involves patients communicating with medical professionals remotely through phone calls or video calls. This alleviates some of the need for rural residents to travel significant distances to see medical professionals.

Unfortunately, telehealth is not yet at an advanced stage that completely dissolves the need for rural residents to see their medical providers in person. However, as technology evolves and new ways of engaging in telehealth become normalized, this may one day change. 

Hopefully, new technology will be able to solve the problem of remote healthcare and provide rural residents with a way to receive robust care and experience better health outcomes. 

Robots Can Help Medical Professionals Perform Procedures More Successfully

As has been noted, many rural areas across America lack key medical resources. Even when there are clinics and medical facilities in these areas, they may not have the proper equipment and professionals to perform specific types of procedures. For rural residents, this means having no other option than having to travel significant distances to have procedures performed. 

Robots, however, are beginning to play a more important role in healthcare. What may have once seemed like an idea out of a science fiction movie has now started to become reality as robots are helping medical professionals perform surgeries and procedures. 

For rural residents, this means that more types of procedures may be offered in local clinics as a result of an influx of new medical robots. This can help medical providers ensure that they’re providing amazing care to rural residents in need of surgery and procedures. As such, the next decade will likely see a great boost in rural healthcare offerings as more healthcare organizations take advantage of medical robots that can help perform procedures. 

Remote Patient Monitoring is Providing Rural Residents with More Convenience

Traditionally, treating patients remotely posed some key challenges for medical providers. Specifically, medical providers had to trust that patients were being consistent in their self-care and were unable to know if patient vitals were off in real-time. This could often result in poor health outcomes for patients who weren’t stringent in their self-care duties. 

Today, however, technology has evolved to the point where medical professionals have the opportunity to monitor patients remotely in real-time. This form of technology has impacted nursing and other medical fields profoundly by making remote care a more viable option. 

For rural residents, this can have a number of benefits. Rather than noticing declines in health when it’s too late, medical professionals can notify rural residents immediately if their vitals become irregular or worrisome. 

One technology that is helping to make this possible is a form of AI called machine learning. Essentially, this form of AI learns over time by studying masses of patient data. As a result, machines powered by machine learning software can alert medical providers if a rural resident’s health is taking a negative turn. 

As time goes on, many are hopeful that technology will continue to make remote monitoring of patients more effective. In this way, technology can help rural residents experience better health outcomes with increased regularity despite a lack of rural medical facilities. 

Technology is Helping Rural Residents Achieve Optimal Health Outcomes

While rural residents have faced a number of healthcare obstacles over the last decades, technology is presenting itself as a powerful tool to overcome these challenges. From making remote monitoring more effective to utilizing robots to help with medical procedures, medical technology is transforming the way that rural residents receive care. 

As time goes on, many are hopeful that technology in healthcare will continue to evolve and provide rural residents with more amazing care options that can potentially transform their lives.

What Are The Potential Consequences of Medical Record Errors

What Are The Potential Consequences of Medical Record Errors?

What Are The Potential Consequences of Medical Record Errors

Hospitals and doctors are expected to maintain thorough medical records for their patients. Because they include thorough medical histories, descriptions of the patients’ usual prescriptions, and information on any potential allergies, medical records are crucial. Even minor inaccuracies or omissions in a patient’s medical file could cause significant harm or death. 

What Are The Potential Consequences of Medical Record Errors

In general, where a patient’s injury or death was brought on by mistakes or omissions in their medical record, the patient or their surviving family member may have a strong case for medical malpractice.

Medical Record Errors Are Dangerous

In medical records, you will find just what you would expect: a record of a patient’s health and medical background. Depending on the person, these records may contain details regarding diagnoses and drugs, drinking patterns, family medical history, and allergies. Whatever the case, these records are essential for registering and obtaining medical care.

Mistakes in medical records occur with alarming regularity. Although these mistakes happen quite commonly, they can have significant consequences for patients. Serious mistakes of the following kinds could cause harm:

  • Failure to correctly note a patient’s existing medications, even herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs
  • Inclusion of incorrect diagnostic information
  • Insufficient or incorrect information about allergies
  • Omissions of allergy information
  • Other omissions from medical records
  • Transcription errors

Incorrect contact information, such as a wrong name, address, or phone number, may cause problems getting bills or test results. These mistakes in medical records can lead to difficulties, harmful drug interactions, life-threatening allergic responses, or inappropriate treatments. 

These issues can result in the patient’s death or severe harm. Therefore, these errors must be discovered and fixed immediately to prevent potential damage.

In fact, many healthcare providers are using touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. These ensure that patients’ EHRs are identified properly – improving patient safety and maintaining patient data integrity. 

Types of Medical Record Errors

The following are some common errors in medical records.

Spelling Errors

Some misspelled words won’t affect a patient’s health. Thus they might not need to be fixed. But when it comes to exchanging records among doctors, mistakes in spelling a patient’s name, for instance, can be problematic and should be corrected immediately.

Diagnostic Errors

If inaccurate test findings or other diagnostic mistakes are recorded in medical records, patients may receive treatment for illnesses they do not have.

Patient Confusion

Records may become confused if two patients with the same name are treated. It is possible to put a patient’s history and information in the incorrect file or to give the incorrect person the incorrect file entirely.

Disorganization

It’s possible for records to disappear or for false information to get lost in the shuffle when medical histories are lengthy and complex, especially those of senior citizens. Records can become jumbled when decades’ worth of data is at stake.

Incorrect Contact Information

Incorrect or outdated phone numbers and addresses can make it difficult to bill patients or reach them with lab results or treatment changes.

Medical Malpractice Due to Medical Record Errors

When a medical provider or providers negligently neglect to enter crucial information or to check the medical record before delivering care, harming the patient, errors in the patient’s medical records may qualify as malpractice. 

Maintaining the accuracy of medical records is essential, and medical facilities and hospitals could be held ultimately liable for any errors made in the victims’ medical records by their medical staff. In a medical malpractice case based on medical records, medical practitioners may also be held accountable if they neglect to thoroughly evaluate the patient’s file or act carelessly and enter false information into it.

Misdiagnoses, incorrect medicine dosages, the delivery of pharmaceuticals that interact dangerously or have severe allergic reactions, and other issues can result from medical mistakes in a patient’s medical records. Other medical carelessness in the patient’s treatment may also be grounds for legal action in medical malpractice cases, including inaccuracies in medical records.

Medication Errors

It can be extremely dangerous when drug errors occur in a patient’s medical records. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines can interact negatively with other pharmaceuticals in harmful ways. The patient could suffer serious harm if a drug is prescribed to them that interacts with anything else they are currently taking but wasn’t listed in the medical record, if the patient’s list of medications doesn’t include everything they are currently taking, including any over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements. 

Due to this, patients must bring a comprehensive list of all of their current prescriptions, including any over-the-counter drugs, to their doctor’s office or the hospital. To ensure that their medical records include a complete list of the medications they are taking, they should carefully review this list with their nurses and doctors.

Failure to adequately disclose a patient’s allergies is another frequent inaccuracy in medical records. When patients get medications to which they are allergic, they run the risk of dying from anaphylaxis. Patients should make sure their doctors and the medical staff are aware of any allergies they know they have, as well as any chemicals to which they have previously experienced allergic reactions, much like they should do when reading the list of prescriptions.

Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Physicians, nurses, hospitals, and other service providers must guarantee the accuracy of their patient’s medical records. 

You might have a strong case for medical malpractice if you sustained catastrophic injuries due to an error in your medical records or your doctor’s failure to thoroughly analyze your medical history. Cases involving medical negligence are typically complicated and call for the assistance of medical professionals. 

Attorneys for medical malpractice can assist in establishing irresponsible medical practitioners’ responsibility so they can be fully compensated.

Understanding the Many Types of Nurses and the Care They're Able to Provide

Understanding the Many Types of Nurses and the Care They’re Able to Provide

Understanding the Many Types of Nurses and the Care They're Able to Provide

When people hear nurse, their mind typically jumps to bedside nursing. And while this is a noble, common manifestation of the profession, it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. There are many different types of nurses, each providing a unique kind of care and expertise.

Understanding the Many Types of Nurses and the Care They're Able to Provide

Understanding the different types of nurses can help you make important career choices, or simply just understand the healthcare system better. In this article, we take a look at several of the many different types of nurses and describe what they do on the job. 

In-Patient Versus Outpatient Nursing

Most people will have interactions with in-patient nurses at some point in their life. If you are ever admitted to the hospital, this is the person who will take care of you. They perform a wide range of duties, including performing tests and helping to ensure your comfort. 

Out-patient nurses often work in the hospital setting as well, but with patients that don’t need to be admitted. For example, if you are getting ongoing blood work, or if you find yourself in the emergency room, you will probably be involved in outpatient care. The hospital treats you and then sends you home that same day. 

However, there are situations in which outpatient nurses may travel to the patient’s house. This is typically done in situations where the patient would not otherwise be able to access care. 

School Nurse

School nursing is often a frequent first job for newly minted nurses. School nurses work in educational environments to assess student health and provide basic care to people who are deemed to need it throughout the school day. 

Nutrition Nurse

You can hire a nutrition nurse if you are trying to optimize your food intake to achieve a specific health goal (weight loss, lower blood pressure, better overall nutrition, etc). Nutrition nurses can help their patients come up with food plans, and monitor their progress with said food plans over time. 

Sometimes nutrition nurses are brought in after a specific incident. For example, if a person has a cardiac event, they may be referred to a nutrition nurse as a way of helping them make the lifestyle changes required for continued health. 

In other situations, people may hire nutrition nurses to help them meet their own goals. 

Nurse Educators

Nurse educators work in schools, teaching the next generation of nurses. They usually will have several years of experience on the job, and will most likely need to at least have a master’s degree to be eligible for the job.

Because they have real-life experience, they are well-positioned to guide students through the hands-on elements of nursing education. 

Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses are brought in toward the end of life to help improve the patient’s comfort level. Once hospice begins, most patients are no longer looking for a cure for their condition. Instead, the hospice nurse works to reduce pain and help the patient achieve at least some degree of normalcy with their eating and sleeping habits. 

Hospice nurses continue to advocate for their patients right up until the end, modifying their care as much as possible to suit their needs while also working with their families to facilitate visits and ensure that the patient’s final wishes are being honored. 

Informatics Nurses

Informatics nursing is a relatively recent development that combines the responsibilities of a hospital nurse with those of a data analyst. Informatics nurses may look both at individual patient data, and analytics for an entire community to help improve the hospital’s ability to provide high-quality care. 

In addition to getting an RN certification, informatics nurses also need to be licensed specifically for data analysis. Because this is a relatively new profession, not all regions of the country have access to informatics nurses. 

Nurse Ethicist

Nurse ethicists work to advise hospitals on policies relating to healthcare ethics. They may also be brought in to advise in situations where the ethics of a choice made at the hospital are in question. They may work directly with other nurses to educate and remind them about the ethical elements of their job.

You may interact with a nurse ethicist as a layperson if your loved one is unable to make medical decisions for themselves. When a decision needs to be made about withdrawing life support, nurse ethicists are brought in to work with members to make the best possible decision. 

Homecare Nurses

Homecare nurses provide patients who can no longer take care of themselves with long-term care. If you come to the conclusion that an aged family member can no longer live on their own, you may look for the services of a home care nurse. 

That said, there are various forms of ongoing care. In certain cases, when the person requiring care is in good health, they may just need someone to help them with a simple task. Running errands. Performing light housework. Helping them with personal hygiene, etc. 

These tasks do not require the services of a home care nurse. However, if the patient has extenuating health conditions that require constant supervision the services of a home care nurse may be required. 

Flight Nurse

Flight nurses work out of airplanes, providing care in situations where someone becomes sick on a plane, or when they need to be transported by air to another hospital. They may perform the same duties as an ER nurse, but within a very unique environment that takes years of experience to master. 

Flight nurses usually need to have at least several years of experience on the job. They are also required to get a special certification to be eligible for the job. 

Conclusion

Navigating the healthcare system on your own is hard. If you are trying to secure care for yourself or someone that you care about, it helps to know what questions to ask. Above we have described some of the many different types of nursing jobs out there. However, there are many other types of nursing as well. 

To secure the right kind of care, begin by researching the symptoms or conditions that need treatment. From there, it is easier to find the appropriate specialties. 

How Can Hospitals Better Accommodate Elderly Patients

How Can Hospitals Better Accommodate Elderly Patients?

How Can Hospitals Better Accommodate Elderly Patients

Hospitals are designed to help ill and injured patients recover. However, that doesn’t always mean they are set up to fully accommodate the needs of elderly patients. 

Many seniors face mobility and communication challenges when visiting the hospital, which can compromise their health outcomes or even lead to injury. They can also experience mental and physical deterioration. In fact, around a third of patients over 70 are discharged from the hospital more disabled than when they were admitted. 

How Can Hospitals Better Accommodate Elderly Patients

Because people tend to need more healthcare as they age, not less, it’s important for hospitals to prioritize making hospitals accessible and accommodating for older patients. 

Here are some ways to help ensure the comfort and safety of seniors in the hospital environment. 

Mitigate Fall Risks & Reduce Bed Sores 

Older patients often have to spend days or weeks in the hospital after they are initially admitted. While they are staying in a hospital room, it’s important for the facility to reduce fall risks and prevent issues like bed sores. 

Frequent repositioning for patients who cannot reposition themselves is time-consuming but essential for reducing the incidence of pressure sores. Mobility assistance is also important for preventing falls and ensuring that patients can move safely as needed. 

Make Signage Easy to Read & Understand 

Many seniors struggle with their vision or cognition. Signage throughout the hospital should be accessible and easy to understand. Large-print signage, clear and easy-to-read maps, and other aids should be available to assist elderly patients. Additionally, information should be provided in Braille whenever possible. 

Add Mobility Assists & Easy Alert Buttons

To help seniors move around a hospital more safely, it’s important for hospitals to keep aisles clear and reduce the number of obstacles senior citizens might face as they navigate the facility. Adding chairs along corridors to allow elderly people to rest is also a good way to better accommodate their needs. 

If the flooring in the hospital isn’t already non-slip, then it’s important to use non-slip matting to prevent accidental trips, slips, and falls. Keeping floors clean and matting well-maintained will also help improve safety.  

Additional mobility assists, like grab bars, might need to be added, even in areas with existing assists. In many cases, the mobility assists that are available in a hospital setting are insufficient. Areas with mobility assistance should also include alert buttons so that seniors can call for help if they are unable to call from their own phone in an emergency. Wearable alarms are another good option for safety. 

Provide Accessible Parking Options 

Hospital parking lots can be huge and difficult to manage, especially for seniors with limited mobility. Even with spots marked for those with disabilities, this can be a problem. 

To avoid having seniors walk long distances through busy parking lots, hospitals can help by adding more disabled parking and by providing accessible parking options, such as a free valet service. This will help get patients into the hospital with less stress and fewer risks. 

Hire & Train Staff with Seniors in Mind

Hospital staff should be proficient in working with elderly patients. While some providers are specially trained in working with geriatric patients, others might not fully understand issues like fall risks, pain management for seniors, and how mobility issues or cognitive decline can affect a patient’s stay in the hospital. Additionally, with the hiring of crisis and travel nurses on the rise, training might vary among hospital personnel at any given time. 

Providing training is an important part of making hospitals more accommodating to elderly patients. In addition to improving understanding and communication between patients and staff, training can also help prevent errors like medication interactions for patients with multiple health conditions, providers, and medications. 

If possible, hospitals should also hire additional nurses and doctors specializing in elder care to bridge the gap in understanding among hospital staff. Hiring social workers specializing in elderly populations can also help to ensure better outcomes for older patients. 

Provide Resources & Detailed Plans for Discharge 

Once a patient leaves the hospital, their care journey doesn’t end. They might be headed to a skilled nursing facility, released to a family or in-home caregiver, or simply going home alone. Putting more thought into discharge planning can help reduce return trips to the hospitals for some seniors. 

Discharge planning might include working with family members to discuss care plans. It also might involve finding the right resources or facilities for patients so they can take the next step right away. In some cases, setting up remote monitoring could be necessary. Personalized discharge planning takes some effort, but it can really help ensure that seniors continue to get the care they need. 

Remember: Elderly Patients Have Advanced Needs in the Hospital

Hospitals are busy places that are full of confusion and a variety of risks for elderly patients. It’s easy to overlook factors that might not affect a younger patient but could prove to be a major obstacle or safety issue for a senior citizen. 

Elderly patients have advanced needs in the hospital. Even if a hospital doesn’t have the money to make sweeping infrastructure changes to support these needs, there are smaller ways to make the facility more accommodating. Protecting and properly caring for the elderly needs to be a major priority for every healthcare facility that serves them.