How to Improve Patient Safety in Substance Use Disorders

How to Improve Patient Safety in Substance Use Disorders

How to Improve Patient Safety in Substance Use Disorders

Every patient should receive the same standard of care, regardless of background or socioeconomic standing. Sometimes that means adjusting processes and protocols to ensure patients with specialized cases or disorders are kept safe and secure.

There’s still a lot of stigma around treating patients with substance use disorders and what that process looks like. Here are some actionable ways to improve patient safety when treating someone facing addiction.

How to Improve Patient Safety in Substance Use Disorders

Create a Referral Network

Building a strong referral network to consult with experts and refer out is a must when working with patients facing addiction. This effort should be standard practice in areas with high rates of substance abuse disorders. 

In New Jersey, for example, there were 98,628 substance abuse treatment admissions in 2019. This information was submitted by providers of Alcohol and Drug Rehab in NJ to the New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System (NJSAMS), indicating that many more individuals didn’t receive the treatment they needed. 

Medical professionals from all practices should make connections to work with treatment centers and help redirect patients they suspect are struggling with substance abuse.

Educate About Medical Identity Theft

Substance abuse disorders and medical identity theft go hand-in-hand. In some instances, people facing addiction will use another person’s identity and insurance to secure access to substances in an emergency room setting. In others, stolen information will be sold to help support the addiction. 

The first step in preventing medical identity theft is building awareness so all staff members know about the issue, the risks involved, and the red flags to watch for. Then, implementing software and protocols to mitigate the risk of medical identity theft is integral. This means working with registration staff to collect personal identification and verify the information and implement IT solutions for support, such as touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient that have a track record of preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

Work to Reduce the Stigma

Many people with substance use disorders or suspected of having an addiction are treated poorly by practitioners. While being aware and cautious about drug-seeking behaviors is critical for security and safety, it’s also important not to be jaded or callous. Dehumanizing patients creates more barriers to seeking treatment, which could be life or death.

Research shows that substance abuse disorder training in a healthcare setting can help adjust beliefs and behaviors surrounding patient treatment. Teaching staff to use patient-centric and recovery-centric language can help further reduce bias and stigma when treating patients.

There’s also a lot of controversy in the medical field about medically assisted treatment (MAT) for people with opioid addictions. This issue persists despite the favorable peer-reviewed research that shows a diminished risk of relapse and overdose death when MAT is used. 

Consider making a Reducing Stigma Education Tools (ReSET) training program a part of the onboarding process when hiring new staff. These training programs are designed for healthcare professionals and use examples of real humans facing substance abuse disorders to discuss what they’ve faced and how healthcare providers can improve their safety and quality of care.

Put Security Measures in Place

 Putting physical security measures in place is also important for protecting patients with substance abuse disorders. Ensuring medicines are locked with controlled access, individualized passwords, and security professionals monitoring secured areas is a must. 

Documentation is another essential part of patient safety and security in preventing drug diversion. There should be clear documentation and procedures surrounding diagnostics and treatment delivery, as well as rigorous standards for recordkeeping. Limited access to controlled substances is essential. Those with clearance should be responsible for inventory updates and cross-referencing patient records to identify if there are any issues.

There should also be clear protocols in prescribing controlled substances with limited access to ordering software. 

Engage in Trauma-informed Care Practices

Many substance users turned to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for something in their lives. There’s a strong correlation between substance abuse and trauma. Children who have experienced abuse or exposure to traumatic events are more likely to develop a substance use disorder. Similarly, people are more likely to experience trauma while actively using. This occurrence is prevalent among women with substance use disorders, who are more likely to experience sexual violence.

Protecting patient safety means avoiding re-traumatization during care. This practice can look different for each patient. Ensuring you have support options available for those who need it during treatment is essential. For example, a domestic violence victim may feel more comfortable with a female doctor. Additionally, some patients may need detailed explanations of what procedures you’re considering and why so they can give (or deny) informed consent.

Training in trauma-informed care and empowering patients helps minimize the risk of triggering events that could lead to further substance abuse. A trip to a healthcare professional should never do more harm than good.

Perform Internal Audits

The best way to evaluate whether a system is working or not is to try and break it. Performing internal audits and tests is an effective way to identify gaps and make adjustments to improve patient safety before someone is harmed. 

Organizing and conducting an internal audit is complex and time-consuming. It starts with having clear goals and metrics to evaluate, then outlining review protocols for capturing data. It’s also important to clarify patient population demographics and the sample size you’ll be reviewing. 

One audit is never enough; reauditing is how you create measurable data. Use this data to reshape your protocols, access controls, and training priorities to ensure a better quality of care. 

Patients with substance use disorders are humans with medical problems. Ensure your treatment of a physical ailment or illness doesn’t exacerbate or trigger their mental health or addiction.

5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

Very few Americans report being pleased with the healthcare system. Granted, this isn’t the same thing as saying that they are being given poor care. The United States may not top the charts with healthcare outcomes but it does consistently enjoy high-quality technology and medicine, such as touchless patient identification platforms like RightPatient. 

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement and small adjustments can make a big difference, both in terms of patient outcomes, and general satisfaction. In this article, we take a look at five relatively simple ways you can improve the patient experience. 

5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

Be Attentive

Most lay people would be astounded by how much traffic even a typical doctor’s office gets each day. Dozens of patients filter in and are often afforded mere minutes with their care providers. The sheer number of people coming through creates an obvious need for speed. 

While it is important to keep things moving along, don’t allow the need for efficiency to come at the cost of the patient experience and engagement. Be attentive, and handle questions with patience. 

Trendy electronic health services like apps and other remote communication technologies are serving to alleviate some of the pressure on the healthcare system. With some patients electing to handle their questions remotely, it becomes easier to give people physically in the office a little more time and attention. 

Keep Things Realistic

No matter the situation, it’s important to give patients a very clear understanding of where they are at with their health. Sometimes this will mean being blunt. If a patient is overweight, they should leave the office understanding how this puts their overall health and well-being at risk. 

Often, this means having unpleasant, or uncomfortable conversations with patients. That’s ok. The healthcare system does not exist to make people feel good about themselves. It’s there to help patients achieve the best health possible. That can’t happen unless they have a clear, unfiltered understanding of where they are at, and what needs to improve. 

Explain in Detail

It’s also important to keep in mind that patients may know little to nothing, even about things that seem standard to you as a healthcare provider. A recent study revealed that almost 80% of adults with high blood pressure aren’t monitoring the condition regularly, with many not even knowing how. 

For a significant portion of the population, annual doctor visits may be the only time they examine their health in detail. The more information you can give them, the better off they will be.

Keep in mind that just because a patient hasn’t asked a question, that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand what you are saying. The patient may not even know that they should ask a question. Anytime you learn something important about a patient’s health, make sure they leave the office with a very clear understanding of what it means, and how they should be handling it. While you can’t control how they handle their health outside of the office, you can give them all the tools they need to make the right choices. 

Take and Implement Feedback

The healthcare industry isn’t exactly known for its customer service. This makes sense to an extent. Health is an important, serious consideration. Niceties seem unnecessary, even obstructive. 

While you don’t have to treat the hospital system like Amazon customer service, you should consider, and in certain cases, implement patient feedback. This doesn’t mean bending over backward to accommodate patient requests.

Many common complaints — long wait times perhaps topping the chart — are born primarily out of a lack of understanding by the patient. 

Still, you can learn important things about the patient experience by listening to what they say with an open mind. 

Provide Multiple Customer Service Channels

It’s no secret that interacting with the healthcare system can be a difficult and unproductive process. Hospitals aren’t fully to blame. They are short-staffed, and often overwhelmed by the number of people requiring their service. Sometimes, this doesn’t leave very much time to answer the phones. 

Implementing multiple channels of patient communication alleviates the stress on the system and makes it easier for patients and hospital staff alike to go over the information. 

Digital forms of communication, such as healthcare applications, make it easy for patients to ask questions that aren’t particularly urgent. Am I allowed to eat before this appointment? Is it ok if I bring my children with me to the waiting room? Etc.

When hospital staff doesn’t have to constantly field relatively minor concerns, it gives the phone operators more time to deal with serious questions. 

Naturally, not everyone will want to use apps for their healthcare communication. However, by making it an option, you improve the overall experience for everyone and make it easier to communicate quickly with patients. 

How To Improve Patient Experience When Faced with Overflow

How To Improve Patient Experience When Faced with Overflow

How To Improve Patient Experience When Faced with Overflow

We all need to keep our patients happy, and it is paramount that you and your staff do everything possible to facilitate this. On a busy day when time is in short supply and your team is rushed off its feet, you may feel like all you are doing is making apologies. But, as long wait times have a negative effect on patient satisfaction, it’s crucial to eliminate the apologies and provide your patients with a good experience. After all, this may well determine how many repeat or referral patients you get in the future, which is fundamental if you want to grow your practice.

How To Improve Patient Experience When Faced with Overflow

1:  Communication is Key

Brushing up on how you communicate with your patients can improve their experience immensely. You should seek to understand how you can improve the experience of waiting and invest in developing patient-centered information and communication.

As a service-based business, you should be setting clear expectations for your patients. If you are having a particularly busy period and appointment times are stretched, make sure your team is aware that they will need to manage wait times. Be honest and up-front with patients if their appointment is delayed and provide them with accurate information about how long the wait may be. Patients can then decide if they want to wait, or they may prefer to rebook. It’s not a perfect solution, but it gives patients the choice.

Today’s technology is making it possible for patients and healthcare providers to communicate in ways we never dreamed of 20 years ago. Voice mail, faxes, and mail are giving way to instant messaging and telehealth video consults. Not only does this enable you to contact patients immediately if you foresee a problem that may result in their appointment being delayed, but it also reduces the time spent in the waiting room. In a pandemic, reducing potential exposure to the virus is beneficial not just for patients but for your team, too.

With all the means of communication we have at our disposal these days, there really is no excuse for not getting in touch with your patients. Unfortunately, technology does not teach individuals how to communicate with patients. Staff training in this area should be a priority as even the most technologically advanced communicator should ensure their face-to-face communication skills are equally as good.

2:  Revamp Your Waiting Room

The waiting room is a crucial part of a patient’s overall experience, and it should be welcoming, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and clean. A waiting room with tasteful décor, filled with color and natural light can influence patients positively on a physical and psychological level. It has been found that plants in the waiting room favorably impact patients and staff – even if they are artificial. Let your patients know you care about their experience by creating a modern waiting room aesthetic where your patients feel comfortable and able to relax.

Creating a Relaxing Space

De-clutter your waiting area by removing old magazines and keeping stacks tidy with baskets or magazine racks. Update your seating, choosing fabrics that are functional, comfortable, and match your brand aesthetic. Have a variety of ambient light sources in the room that contributes to a tranquil atmosphere much more than functional, overhead lighting.

Provide WiFi

Reliable, complimentary WiFi will be a huge benefit to many patients who can entertain themselves using their smartphones or tablets. Parents will find it useful to keep their small children occupied and for anyone needing to keep a check on emails or work, Wi-Fi will provide functional and practical service.

Customize TV Content

Customized TV content can deliver a variety of tailor-made messages to your patients. Far from just showing TV programs, you can create local interest content, such as ads from local businesses, or display information about your practice or dental health issues.

3:  Mitigate Long Wait Times with IT that Suits Your Business

Scheduling Tools

It is a common misconception that if you cannot see patients expediently, then it is because the practice is too busy. From time to time, this may well be the case, but one of the main reasons for limited appointment options could be due to inefficient scheduling. With the right healthcare scheduling software for your clinic, you can improve wait times for your patients and minimize staffing shortages that can contribute to overflowing waiting rooms.

  • For patients, filling in long forms in the waiting room should be a thing of the past. Digital health tools include portals that allow patients to fill in their information securely online before they arrive for their appointment – resulting in less time in the waiting room. What’s more, the information can integrate seamlessly with the dental management software suites you use to streamline other processes, such as administration, appointments, patient records, treatment planning, test results, billing. This saves you and your staff time so they can concentrate on patient care rather than administrative tasks.
  • For even greater improvements, staff shift scheduling can present your whole team with a valuable tool for managing their time. The fact is, you and your team must juggle patient waits, treatments, medications, insurance procedures and administration among other things and things can go awry swiftly if members of your team are absent. Shift scheduling software enables all members of your team to manage their work schedules and as practice manager for you to see at a glance who can step in to cover.


Although telehealth has been around for some time now, the pandemic has brought it truly into the mainstream. It is now an essential tool to aid communication between healthcare practitioners and patients, helping to keep patients and your staff safe and eliminating congested, chaotic waiting rooms. It has been estimated that 20% of emergencies can be seen using teledentistry, which itself can have marked improvement on congested waiting areas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is already saving time for patients and for your staff. Rather than having to phone in and wait in line for your office to answer, a website chatbot can often answer questions frequently posed by patients – even out of hours. Additionally, it saves both your team’s and your patient’s time.

While AI is still in its infancy, machine learning will transform patient care in the future with algorithms that will be paramount in the way we treat patients – from diagnostics to holistic treatment plans. There will be numerous benefits to patients, including spending less time in a waiting room because AI-driven systems will be able to accurately detect their problems and prescribe a course of treatment.

The Bottom Line

In the world we live in today, patients have high expectations. They want to be seen with little wait times; they want their treatment options explained simply, and they want their dentist to be attentive and caring. Moreover, healthcare providers need to ensure that they are providing the appropriate treatment to the right patient. A touchless patient identification platform like RightPatient can help with that, preventing patient mix-ups, duplicates, and overlays in the process. 

Making improvements for your patients is just as likely to be beneficial to you and your team, too. The pandemic was not good for dental health and has already changed workflows dramatically with the increased use of technology solutions. But, moving forward it’s important to know your business and invest in the most appropriate technology and training that meets your practice’s needs, rather than the latest “cutting-edge tech” that may not fit in with your workflow.

Easier Ways to Guide Patients to Healthcare Services

Easier Ways to Guide Patients to Healthcare Services

Easier Ways to Guide Patients to Healthcare Services

In the healthcare industry, it is extremely crucial that patients can easily find the right information at the right time to ensure the highest quality of Healthcare Services. Here are some tips to make crucial information easier available online.

Healthcare communications are becoming a crucial part of making sure the patient will get the right treatment. Quick access to the right information can be crucial for starting the right treatment, even before the patient will encounter the healthcare system. Therefore, providers in the healthcare industry can take a service check on their online services to make sure that the most important information is easily available to patients.

Easier Ways to Guide Patients to Healthcare Services

Avoid Specialized Language

A primary task in healthcare information is to convert medical terms into simpler terms that can be understood by laymen. Few of the patients have the right education to understand the doctors’ language and will probably not obtain it before it becomes crucial information for the patients. The main task here is to simplify without giving wrong information.

Use Easy-to-remember Intuitive Domain Names

When a patient sees a doctor and gets advised to read more information on a webpage, it’s important that this webpage is easily accessible. Some companies tend to have special shortenings of names that are difficult to either spell or remember for the patients. Therefore, it can be useful for health care services to use a premium domain name.

A premium domain is living up to the criteria for a user-friendly experience. Such domains might already be occupied or bought by other companies. But at Domainify, you can find some of the best healthcare domain names. These names are all living up to the criteria for a premium domain name, and it even comes with a pre-designed logo. It is even SEO-friendly and all of them are easy to remember and spell for patients.

Make Communication More Visual

Medical terms can be abstract and difficult to understand for patients. Many people don’t know about the body’s mechanisms. They can feel pain and discomfort but might not know exactly how a knee or stomach is functioning. Therefore, doctors and health care personnel have a big task of communicating this information in an easily understandable way.

For a lot of patients, descriptions of the body can be quite abstract in words. Often a feeling in the body is difficult to translate into words. This is leading to a huge potential in visual communication like infographics in health care. Here health care providers can more easily give instructions, communicate about specific body parts or symptoms.

The brain is processing visual communication thousands of times faster than text according to TechSmith. Research also shows that people are more likely to remember communication when it is delivered visually instead of by text. The explanation is not so weird. Visualizations show things like they are. Text is a transformation of events in the world transformed into letters, that are forming words, sentences, and texts. Texts might be easy to write, but visuals are easier to use for learning.

patient safety in healthcare

Breathe Easy: 5 Considerations for Asthma Patient Safety

patient safety in healthcare

The following guest post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Dixie Somers.

Asthma can be triggered at any time and in any type of environment. In a healthcare setting where nurses and physicians are trying to treat patients who may have severe asthma problems, the presence of allergens and environmental contaminants can be particularly troublesome. Keeping these patients safe requires additional measures to allow them to receive appropriate treatment without causing an attack.

patient safety in healthcare

Hospitals and healthcare organizations should ensure an environment free of allergens and environmental contaminants to increase patient safety for those afflicted with asthma.


Being in a hospital or clinic itself can be stressful and can bring on an attack before the individual can apply counter measures. Maintaining a positive, compassionate environment can help to reduce stress levels and the risk of an attack. Physicians can ensure that the patient is taking appropriate medications before they are admitted to a healthcare facility.

Pollen, Mold, Dust Mites

Careful attention should be given to the cleanliness of the environment, not only in regard to dirt brought in from the outside, but also to limit the amount of pollen, mold and dust mites that are known triggers for asthma attacks. Air purification systems should be installed and regularly maintained to ensure that the number of allergens in the environment is minimized.

Cold, Dry Air

Indoor temperatures should be carefully maintained at a comfortable level with care taken to provide appropriate moisture levels to prevent irritable of airways in affected patients. A humidity level between 30 to 50 percent is considered ideal. This action will benefit both those with asthma and non-asthmatic patients.

Chemical Fumes

Harsh cleaning products and other chemical sources that could produce fumes that could lead to an asthma attack should be minimized. Proactive efforts to require maintenance services to use non-toxic, organic cleaning compounds that are both effective and safe will help to protect asthmatic patients.

Record of Previous Hospitalizations

Patients who have severe asthma or who do not manage their symptoms well can be subject to increased risk for an attack in a healthcare setting because a number of common triggers may be present. In addition, research indicates that those who have previously been admitted for asthma problems are at higher risk for serious health effects when subsequently hospitalized. Because of these issues, health professionals must take particular care to ensure these patients are given proper instructions before, during and after their treatment in a facility.

Patients with asthma present additional concerns for healthcare professionals when they are being admitted to healthcare institutions. Implementing a number of measures in advance can help to ensure the safe medical care of these individuals.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona, who loves most to write for health, technology, and business niches. Dixie is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

thought leadership opportunities on patient identification in healthcare

Guest Blogging Opportunities

thought leadership opportunities on patient identification in healthcare

Part of any successful blog campaign is the ability to secure quality, third party guest bloggers to contribute their knowledge and wisdom on applicable topics. At RightPatient®, we are committed to educating our community through our blog content which covers the following topics:

— Biometrics for patient identification 
— Increasing patient safety in healthcare
— Impact of accurate patient identification on revenue cycle management (RCM)
— New biometric identification trends and topics
— Infection control
— Patient data integrity
— Health Information Management (HIM)
— Duplicate medical records and overlays in healthcare
— Healthcare fraud and medical identity theft

thought leadership opportunities on patient identification in healthcare

Interested in demonstrating your thought leadership on a topic related to patient identification in healthcare.

Some of our recent guest blog contributions include:

5 Big Indicators You Should Replace Your Revenue Cycle Management Solution
Infographic: Understanding and Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections

We consistently seek bright minds to contribute a guest post that covers any of these topics and continue our mission of educating our community and securing more attention to the critical and complicated topic of achieving 100% patient identification accuracy in healthcare

Interested in contributing a guest post on a topic related to patient ID in healthcare? Please drop us an email at: and tell us your idea. We would enjoy the opportunity to work with you on publishing your content to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise! We are happy to provide you with proper credit and a backlink to your Website. Please include a suggested image for the post and your byline in the draft.

Please note that guest bloggers are limited to one post every three months. Each submission must include:

  1. Original content (and creativity!)
  2. A licensed image to go with the post
  3. The author’s byline

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on publishing your content to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise! We are happy to provide you with proper credit and a backlink to your Website. (up to three backlinks are permitted, including the author’s byline).

old people

Latest Innovations in Technology and Data Tools in Life Sciences

old people

The following guest post on data tools in life sciences was submitted by Daniel Lewis.

Elderly people have more and more trouble adjusting to the pace the world is changing. Even though it can be hard for our older demographic, it feels good when we can tell them that that same world that’s changing so fast, is changing for them as well. Today, there are many devices and apparatus that can contribute to something we call “aging-in-place.” What it means is that our oldest family members can spend their time at home for as long as they are medically capable. We’re here to take a look at some of the advancements made in the past couple of years when it comes to innovations in senior care technology and how we use them to make our eldest feel better and live more comfortable and care-free lifestyles.

old peopleBeClose

BeClose is an innovative online system that allows us to track our elderly’s daily house routine. Wireless sensors are put throughout the house to assure us that they are using the living spaces they are supposed to, be it because of their heart or feet, it’s important to take notice where they went, so that we can take better care of them. The sensors alert you via E-mail, phone or SMS if there are any disruptions.


Fitbit is a handy little gadget for our elderly (and even for us). It tracks how many steps we took at any moment, and it even detects stairs. Other than that it tracks calories, activity level, sleep quality and more. It’s a great way to keep tabs on our elect’s walks and grocery runs so that they don’t overdo it. As we’ve stated, this one is handy for everyone.

TV Ears

TV Ears is a tool that’s meant to help seniors hear the TV better. It looks like a pair of light-weight headphones, but in reality, it helps them during family sittings so that they can turn the volume to their desired effect while everyone else can set it to normal hearing volume. It’s easy to set up under the chin and it goes a long way in helping our elderly feel comfortable in family sitting but also hear everything like everyone else.

old people 2Telikin

Telikin is for the seniors who would like to go a step further and use a PC, but can’t quite get there. It’s a family computer designed with ease of use in mind, offering features such as picture albums, video chat, e-mail and other popular features that our elderly would like to have. It comes equipped with a touchscreen screen device so it’s easy for our seniors to get used to using it and passing some time.


TabSafe is a device that allows us to control the medicine administration to our elderly. The unit is capable of reminding of medicine, dispensing it when the time is right, alert about inventory information and other utility info and is accessible via an internet device. A patented design allows pharmacies to equip the unit with more medicine, and the access is impossible without a log-in. Placing it in a central part of the living area is a sure way for our senior to never lose sight of it and be sure to properly take medication when the unit dispenses it.
Technology is advancing at a really fast pace these days, and we’re not just referring to recreational gadgets and smart devices. Advances in the medical field, particularly in senior care, are currently helping caregivers provide better help for patients. From heart-monitoring devices to monitoring gizmos, there’s no doubt that families can look after their loved ones even from a distance.

old people 3As you can see, the 21st century has made it easier than ever for our seniors to spend time with their families instead of homes. With a few handy gadgets everyone can feel happy and satisfied knowing that their oldest relatives are close by and adapted to every need. Elder care is though, and given that most seniors want to live on their own for as long as possible, it is recommended for their kids to find a way and look after them anyhow. Technology is here to help, and out of a wide variety currently available, it’s very important to choose the ones that provide the best care for your aging parent.

By Daniel Lewis and!