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Patient-Verification-mitigates-hospital-losses

Patient Verification Helps Hospitals Deal with Decreasing Revenue as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Hospitals and health systems are constantly being challenged by the pandemic. Sure, COVID-19 has affected virtually every business – many organizations have declared bankruptcy while others have shuttered their doors. However, most, if not all of these organizations, had their employees work from home. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, had to face unprecedented challenges head-on, such as frontline healthcare teams risking their lives, losing billions of dollars, patient verification issues, data breaches, and more.

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Unfortunately, it looks like the battle with COVID-19 is far from over for healthcare providers. With the Delta variant once again wreaking havoc, caregivers are experiencing razor-thin margins. That being said, accurate patient verification CAN prevent many issues, helping hospitals survive this challenging period. Let’s take a look at a few stats that show how concerning the new variant is and how positive patient identification can help caregivers.

Some recent statistics that show a rise in margins and expenses 

While things were definitely getting better with millions being vaccinated across the U.S. and businesses slowly opening up, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has struck back with full force. While healthcare providers have been facing lower losses and improved margins when compared to the first half of 2020, a new report sheds light on many facts. While many indicators show that things are going in the right direction, some show that the effects of COVID-19 are far from over.

The “median operating margin index” in June was 2.8%, excluding funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relied, and Economic Security) Act. When taking funding into account, it was 4.3%.

What do these numbers mean for hospitals and health systems? Well, it’s an increase of almost 90% (excluding CARES Act Funding) or 48.7% (including the funding) when compared to the first half of 2020. All of these numbers are based on 900 hospitals that have participated monthly for the last three years. 

When it comes to patient volumes, it’s a mixed bag. Patient volumes were higher when compared to 2020, but lower than they were before the pandemic. For those who want specifics, discharges between January and June of 2021 were 10.1% higher than in the first half of 2020, but when compared to the first half of 2019, patient volumes are down 4.4%. A similar trend can be seen for ER visits in hospitals, i.e. higher than in the first half of 2020 but lower than in the first half of 2019.

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Fortunately, the revenue of hospitals and health systems has increased compared to both 2020 and 2019! According to the same report mentioned above, this is because of outpatient visits. “Gross operating revenue,” excluding CARES Act funding for January to June of this year, was 18.2% higher than the same period of 2020 and 7.9% higher than the same period of 2019.

But all of these statistics look good for hospitals, right?

Well, while all of these do look good, expenses have also increased – affecting margins significantly. The first half of 2021 saw an 8.5% rise in expenses when compared to the first half of last year, and an increase of almost 10% when compared to the first half of 2019. 

While margins are increasing, expenses are increasing as well

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over – the Delta variant has reached the U.S. and has been in the news for the past few weeks. While healthcare providers have opened their doors to regular patients, COVID-19 cases are spiking once again, and this might be detrimental to hospital margins according to an official associated with the study mentioned above. 

Hospitals need to identify ways to reduce losses, improve patient safety, and avoid unwanted incidents that hurt the bottom line. But how can patient verification help?

How patient verification helps improve hospital margins

Accurate patient identification has been a topic of discussion for several years now, and identification errors have also given rise to a number of studies.

Accurate patient identification helps

  • Prevent medical record errors such as duplicate medical records and overlays
  • Prevent medical identity theft in real-time
  • Protect patient data integrity
  • Reduce denied claims by ensuring accurate, consistent information within medical records
  • Prevent medical errors that might lead to patient safety incidents
  • Avoid dangerous patient mix-ups, including transplant mix-ups
  • Ensure CMS compliance by sending out proper e-notifications to appropriate caregivers
  • Improve patient outcomes
  • Reduce hospital readmissions

All of the above, when considered together, can drastically reduce losses and improve a hospital’s margin. We know this because our leading patient identification platform has been helping several healthcare providers for years.

Patient verification made easy with RightPatient

A number of healthcare providers have chosen RightPatient to manage their patients’ medical records. In a post-pandemic world, RightPatient’s touchless patient ID platform makes the most sense, as it keeps everyone safe by preventing physical contact (when compared to other methods of identification). 

RightPatient reduces denied claims, improves patient safety, prevents duplicates and overlays, and prevents patient identity theft – boosting the bottom line of hospitals. 

How are YOU planning to reduce losses and improve margins at your healthcare facility?

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Another One Added to Wrong Patient Surgery Cases – Is Patient Misidentification To Blame?

We’ve been talking about patient misidentification for quite a long time now, and for very good reasons. While many think that patient identification errors in hospitals are not that common or serious, but every now and then, a piece of news comes up that shows just how serious it can be. This time, a patient received a kidney that was actually meant for someone else – can you imagine? Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the unfortunate tale and see how wrong patient surgery cases can be prevented with positive patient identification. 

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A classic case of transplant mix-up

This unfortunate case of transplant mix-up is exactly what we warn healthcare professionals against – we’ve seen our fair share of wrong patient surgery cases.

It occurred in University Hospitals (UH) on the 2nd of July, and fortunately, the recipient survived, as the kidney was compatible with the patient. The patient is slowly recovering, according to a spokesperson, and the surgery of the actual patient who was supposed to get the kidney has been delayed. UH also notified UNOS (United Network for organ Sharing) about the transplant mix-up.

Moreover, UH isn’t divulging any more details about the situation as of now – they are analyzing the situation, investigating what caused the issue, and are working so that it never occurs again. However, the employees that were involved with the medical error are on administrative leave until the issue is figured out. 

However, while this might seem quite unusual, wrong patient surgery cases do occur every now and then – something which we can confidently say occurs because of patient mix-ups due to poor patient identification systems. 

Wrong patient surgery cases are uncommon, but not unheard of

Back in 2019, before the pandemic changed everything, wrong patient identification led to another transplant mix-up in Lourdes Hospital Transplant Center (which we’ve covered already). Coincidentally, it also was a case of a kidney transplant.

However, this was a much more transparent case as the patients had a similar name and age – something that we very well know leads to patient mix-ups, among other things. Fortunately, in that case, the patient who got the kidney survived as it was a perfect match. 

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This case was also reported to UNOS and the patient who was supposed to get the kidney had the transplant down the line. 

However, in UH’s case, the patient who’s supposed to get the transplant is still on the waiting list. As already mentioned, UH isn’t releasing any details about the mix-up – but we are too familiar with such cases. 

Wrong patient surgery cases occur due to poor patient identification

In Lourdes Hospital Transplant Center’s case, the patients had common names and were of similar age. This is a classic case of patient identification errors. Patient’s medical records are usually mixed up during registration, and if they have common characteristics, such devastating cases are generated. 

We believe that whatever occurred in UH was due to patient misidentification, or the lack of proper patient identification.

Medical record mix-ups, poor quality patient data, medication administration errors, wrong transplants, detrimental healthcare outcomes, mistreatments, and adverse incidents are just some of the consequences of poor patient identification, and can even claim patients’ lives. The patients involved in the two wrong patient surgery cases above are extremely lucky to be alive – not everyone makes it out alive. 

Such transplant mix-ups or patient mix-ups are deadly, but they ARE preventable – as long as the healthcare provider is ensuring accurate patient identification. We’re so concerned about such cases is because we help responsible hospitals and health systems prevent patient mix-ups with our industry-leading touchless biometric patient identification platform, RightPatient. 

RightPatient prevents patient mix-ups and patient safety incidents

RightPatient prevents patient identification errors right from the start. It takes patients’ photos during registration and locks the medical records with them. Whenever a patient comes up later on, the platform provides the accurate medical record after comparing the saved photo with the live one. This makes sure that patient mix-ups are eliminated, as it uses the one characteristic that cannot be mixed up – patients’ faces. 

RightPatient has a vast amount of experience with ensuring accurate patient identification in several hospitals and health systems, and we’re confident that it could’ve prevented such cases. 

Are you preventing such mix-ups at your healthcare facility effectively?

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The Importance of EHRs Shows Why Medical Record Errors Must be Prevented

When caregivers are asked about the most important tool they have at their disposal to treat their patients, what answers are expected? Some would say their healthcare team, the cutting edge technology/procedures they have access to, the different solutions they have that improve healthcare outcomes, and so on. However, the most underrated and crucial tool is definitely the electronic health records or EHRs. Think of it – where would healthcare be without EHRs? EHRs ensure that the right information regarding the right patient is provided to the right medical team. However, this is applicable only as long as certain issues are prevented, especially medical record errors.

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That being said, let’s take a deeper dive into how EHRs are the most important tool for healthcare providers and why ensuring patient data integrity is a must. 

Healthcare is evolving but the starting point remains the same

Let’s go back to a time before the deadly pandemic. If someone went to a healthcare provider and told them that telehealth would become mainstream in the future, the provider would most likely say that they’re crazy! Look at the reality now – telehealth is still preferred by many, even while users are decreasing due to hospitals opening up. 

Healthcare has been evolving – rapidly in some areas and steadily in others. One certain thing is that healthcare isn’t limited to the four walls of hospitals and health systems anymore – one of the consequences of the pandemic. However, whether it’s in-person visits or virtual ones (telehealth/telemedicine), the foundation for providing care to patients remains the same – EHRs. 

EHRs are more important than most realize 

Patients, caregivers, and others are quite satisfied with telehealth now.

Patients on the younger side have stated that they would like to continue using telehealth even if the national health emergency is over. That’s probably because it’s more convenient, easier, and safer – all the patients need is an internet connection with a communication device. 

Caregivers have a bit more complex process to go through. 

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Caregivers who are providing telehealth services have to consider a lot of factors – the telehealth platform, the portal, the EHR system, identifying the right patient, rules and regulations, ensuring patient safety online, and more. Also, while providing virtual services to the patients, the physicians need to ensure that the necessary information is being fed to the EHRs of the patients accurately – just as they do during an in-person visit. 

The bottom line is that whether the healthcare provider is seeing the patient within their facility or online, the one thing that basically remains constant is the patient’s EHR. However, issues such as medical record errors can mess EHRs up, derailing healthcare outcomes among other things – let’s see how. 

Why it’s crucial to prevent medical record errors

One of the starting points of providing healthcare is the EHR. When the patient interacts with their healthcare provider, usually to schedule an appointment, one of the first things done by the caregiver is pulling up the patient’s EHR. It basically provides the entire medical history, recent lab test results, and other information required to treat the patient. Moreover, any new information captured by the caregiver will be added to the EHR. EHRs, by providing timely, relevant, comprehensive, and accurate information to the physicians, improve healthcare outcomes, optimize healthcare delivery, boost coordinated care, and reduce adverse events. 

Now, imagine if an inaccurate EHR is selected – the consequences can be devastating! 

Medical record errors such as duplicates and overlays lead to patient mix-ups. Patient A’s treatment will be based on patient B’s medical record, leading to detrimental healthcare outcomes, adverse effects, and worse. Patient data within the EHRs becomes unreliable as it is fragmented, erroneous, and inconsistent. 

However, all of this can be prevented with positive patient identification with RightPatient.

RightPatient prevents medical record errors – and more!

By identifying patients correctly right off the bat, RightPatient ensures that accurate, high-quality data is fed to the EHRs every time the patient checks in for a healthcare visit. Patients only need to look at the camera – the touchless biometric patient identification platform does the rest.

With RightPatient, responsible healthcare providers are not only ensuring patient data integrity, but they are also improving patient outcomes, preventing patient safety incidents, and providing optimal healthcare services to patients.

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Ensuring Healthcare Data Quality Boosts Hospitals’ Digital Transformation Efforts

The U.S. healthcare system has always had a complex relationship with technology, to say the least. While it has always been open to ideas that can transform healthcare, there have been certain impediments. For instance, the concept of a unique patient identifier is around two decades old, but due to many concerns, one doesn’t exist yet. As a result, healthcare providers are either struggling with patient identification errors or are using a robust patient identification platform to resolve the issues. Moreover, new research demonstrates the complex relationship between healthcare and technology – healthcare is lagging behind other industries in terms of digital transformation. Let’s take a closer look at the study, why some are reluctant to pursue digital transformation, and how ensuring healthcare data quality can boost digital transformation, among other things. 

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Some stats regarding digital transformation

The study was conducted with over 300 C-level executives, and while it includes a variety of industries, it also compares healthcare with the others, providing a different perspective.

Overall, a whopping 82% of the respondents from all industries stated that data quality is a barrier to data integration. This falls in line with the problems faced in U.S. hospitals and health systems – healthcare data quality can be inconsistent and problematic. 

Healthcare was found to be comparable to financial services and the telecommunications industry in digital transformation – most of the respondents from these organizations stated that they were witnessing success rates of around 60%. While this number might be encouraging to some, healthcare lags behind organizations such as software and tech companies, who naturally are advanced in digital transformation, as well as transportation and logistics firms.

While different industries were surveyed, some commonalities show digital transformation exists as a common problem between them. For instance, around 80% of respondents stated that they found “enriching” existing data quite difficult, impeding the quest to find new insights or meaningful patterns. This is also an issue seen in hospitals and health systems, as ensuring healthcare data quality can be a considerable challenge for many – something which is preventable with proper patient identity management – more on that later. 

Healthcare data quality issues also lead to losing time and resources as data needs to be rectified for usage. The survey also reflected this issue – around 40% of the respondents stated that their data teams have to spend time to clean the data, time which they could’ve spent doing something more productive, as data quality issues should not exist in the first place. 

Healthcare data quality issues have a long history

It’s no secret that patient misidentification is a crucial issue in health systems and hospitals, and it leads to patient data integrity failure. Just imagine that a patient named Sam Jackson comes to the hospital and is assigned the medical record with the name “Sam Jackson”. However, the EHR actually belongs to a different Sam Jackson! The modified EHR will be full of errors and will be unusable and dangerous for both the Sams.

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Such problems have been going on for a long, long time, leading to patient data quality issues, medication errors, wrong treatments, detrimental healthcare outcomes, readmissions, and more.

High-quality patient data is a must

Hospitals and health systems have been investing considerable money and resources in population health management, big data, analytics, and other projects that can transform healthcare for their patients in a variety of ways. However, the only way these efforts can work is if they have access to patient data that is complete, accurate, timely, and relevant. Unfortunately, when patient data is corrupted because of duplicate and overlay records from identification issues, these investments are diluted and affect ROI, patient safety, and healthcare outcomes.

Digital transformation in healthcare, as a result, requires high-quality patient data, and everything depends on identifying the accurate patient record right from the start – something which RightPatient is built for. 

RightPatient ensures patient data integrity 

RightPatient has been ensuring patient data integrity for several hospitals with its touchless patient identification platform. Registered patients are identified accurately right from the start – all they need to do is look at the camera and the platform provides the right medical record. By ensuring that accurate patient information is fed into EHRs every time, RightPatient ensures that high-quality data is present within the facilities to boost digital transformation efforts and investments – improving patient outcomes and reducing unwanted incidents in the process.

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Improving Patient Outcomes Has to Be the Main Concern since In-Person Visits Are Back

Luckily, it looks like the COVID-19 pandemic may be ending at last. Whilst COVID-19 cases 19 are still occurring, the overall rate has slowed down, thanks to over 326 million Americans getting vaccinated. As restrictions that used to be in place since the beginning of the pandemic start to ease in most states, businesses are gradually opening back up. However, healthcare, which did not close is finally receiving great news – in-person appointments, as well as margins, are going up gradually. Rising patient appointments are not sufficient for caregivers – guaranteeing quality and safety in healthcare facilities is also necessary for improving patient outcomes. 

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Having said that, let’s look closer at the present condition concerning patient volumes as well as margins, some statistics regarding them, and the reason hospitals must find solutions that can assist them in lowering significant costs, eliminating current issues, and surviving this difficult environment. 

Healthcare providers may, at last, be getting a break

After several months of financial losses, along with suffering caused by COVID-19, healthcare providers, finally are opening facilities for in-person visits. Whilst the reaction is sluggish, it is rising steadily regarding patient volumes along with margins, based on research by KaufmanHall – let’s look closer at a few of the stats.

These stats reveal that whilst patient volumes went up, particularly outpatient visits, providers are still ending up with extremely low margins. In May, the median hospital operating margin index was only 2.6 percent, and if you include the federal CARES funding, that was still only 3.5 percent. 

Nevertheless, the operating margin climbed 95.2 percent YTD (year-to-date) when compared to Jan to May 2021, and operating EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) margin improved close to double – 102.4 percent YTD in May, the latter is excluding the CARES aid. 

Conversely, when in comparison to pre-COVID-19 periods (Jan to May 2019), the operating margin was down to 20.5 percent YTD without CARES.

Therefore, what do all these numbers really show regarding healthcare providers? 

Actually, it is very simple – when health systems and hospitals were able to open up, and when the restrictions eased, that led to rises in their margins in comparison to the shutdown timeframes. Though the figures were lower in comparison to the pre-pandemic time due to patient numbers being quite high then, a few cases were nearer to pre-pandemic levels, said that same report.

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Based on these numbers, it is very clear healthcare is improving its numbers, yet hospitals and health systems can’t stop worrying too soon – they must work towards improving patient outcomes.

Providers must deliver their patients a safer atmosphere, carry out telehealth services for people who don’t want to do in-person appointments and decrease issues that may harm patient care. Overall, they must make sure they’re striving to improve healthcare outcomes.

Improving patient outcomes is necessary to mitigate losses

Even while COVID-19 was rampaging, there were a lot of times when it was obvious hospitals needed to work hard towards improving patient outcomes. Incorrect patient information led to repeated lab tests, inappropriate data sharing, sending results to incorrect patients, etc. Regrettably, that is not new, since healthcare providers have always faced these issues, with one of the dominant causes being the wrong identification of patients. 

Misidentifying patients impedes patient outcomes

It is very simple – whenever patients get misidentified, they’re assigned an incorrect EHR, and their treatment process is completely wrong from the start. Patients may get asked to do an unneeded or repetitive lab test, and then will most certainly receive incorrect treatment – all of this gets recorded in an incorrect EHR. This all causes detrimental healthcare outcomes, as well as hospital readmissions, plus in some cases, people even die. 

Healthcare providers were facing litigation costs already as well as loss of income because of such cases. However, the COVID-19 issue, along with these losses, might be sufficient to make them permanently close their doors. They simply can’t afford to make medical mistakes and jeopardize patient safety.

Luckily, they do not have to – RightPatient can help with that. 

RightPatient improves patient outcomes

RightPatient identifies patients correctly from the beginning, and because it is touchless, it offers a hygienic and safe experience for all. Our biometric patient ID platform is used by many reputed healthcare providers like Terrebonne General Medical Center as well as Grady Health, and it protects millions of patients from adverse effects. 

Due to COVID-19, hospitals have to do what they can to lower their losses. RightPatient can do this since it improves healthcare outcomes, as well as averts misidentification problems, and improves the facility’s bottom line.

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How Identity Management in Healthcare Helps With the Interoperability & Patient Access Rule

With COVID-19, telehealth, data breaches, and other challenges, healthcare providers have had their hands full. Because COVID-19 is a national health crisis, CMS pushed back compliance with its Interoperability and Patient Access rule until July 1, 2021, though it’s been effective since the start of 2021. Nevertheless, with mass vaccinations across the country, as well as hospitals slowly opening, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) will require healthcare providers to comply from July 1. So, let’s examine a few of these requirements, the way it mandates correct information of patients, and the way proper identity management in healthcare facilities can ensure patient data integrity.

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The reason CMS is gambling hugely on this rule

Like all the rules out there, the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access rule is comprehensive – the majority of it requires healthcare facilities to remove any restrictions which normally prevent patient information exchanges all across the healthcare gamut. 

Under this rule, CMS plans to improve interoperability along with patient access – assisting the providers as well as patients to ensure proper healthcare outcomes.

Concerning interoperability, CMS wants the rule to aid in assisting healthcare providers to share and access patient information securely and effectively. That will assist in improving collaboration and improving healthcare outcomes as it will help make informed decisions more accurately. 

On the other hand, patients, when they’ll get access to their health information, will be more involved with care decisions, increasing patient engagement. 

Improving patient data access across the care continuum has several benefits such as improving healthcare outcomes, cutting costs, reducing redundant lab tests, reducing inefficiencies, and boosting collaboration among the caregivers – improving healthcare results as well. Though, all that will happen only if patient data integrity is rigorously maintained, and this requires immaculate identity management in healthcare facilities.

Healthcare providers must support e-notifications

As a segment of this rule, CMS necessitates healthcare givers (which utilize EHR systems) like critical access, acute care facilities, and psychiatric hospitals must deliver e-notifications to the patient’s other caregivers like primary care doctors, post-acute providers and suppliers, amongst other entities during ADT (admission, discharge, or transfer) events – appropriate for ED as well as inpatient admissions. This data has to consist of the patient’s basic information, the name of the sending organization, and if needed, the diagnosis of the patient.

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But how does identity management in healthcare facilities play a part here? 

So, patient identification in the majority of hospitals as well as health systems is yet a substantial dilemma for several causes. The outcomes can be distressing – patient misidentification can lead to making errors with medical records, mixing up patients, medical identity theft, damaging healthcare results, getting readmitted to a hospital or it could end up killing someone!

Think about it. What if an incorrect alert gets delivered to the incorrect caregiver because of a patient identification error – it would end up a disaster for everyone, if unnoticed. Not just would it impede the outcome for the patient, it would additionally compromise CMS compliance – affecting reimbursements, something that is very important for the majority of healthcare suppliers. 

Whilst incorrect patient identification is quite common in the majority of healthcare facilities, reliable caregivers are utilizing RightPatient to guarantee immaculate identity management in healthcare facilities. 

The Way RightPatient guarantees accurate identity management in healthcare facilities

RightPatient is the leading patient ID platform that identifies patients accurately at any touchpoint in the care continuum. By accurately identifying patient records right from registration and beyond, RightPatient prevents false alerts and ensures that the appropriate healthcare organization receives e-notifications. Since RightPatient also ensures patient data integrity by protecting patient information, it also leads to lower readmissions, boosting CMS compliance down the line. RightPatient also enhances patient safety, prevents medical errors, red-flags fraudsters in real-time – improving the bottom line in the process. 

How are YOU planning to ensure CMS compliance at your healthcare facility? 

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

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

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RightPatient improves the patient experience

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

Virtual consultations may not be for everyone

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

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

Normal, but not normal

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

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RightPatient has been improving the patient experience for several hospitals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8 Strategies That Enhance Safety in Hospitals

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

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

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

Strategies that enhance safety in hospitals 

Have a robust patient safety policy in place

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

Keep critical materials in stock at all times

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

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

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

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Enforce safety measures on everyone on the premises

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

Ensure proper waste management

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

Disinfect commonly touched surfaces and materials

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

Continuously work on improving safety

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

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

Deploy solutions that boost patient safety in hospitals

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

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

Streamline OSHA compliance to improve employee safety

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

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

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

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

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

Telehealth

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

Moving toward the cloud

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

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

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

Touchless solutions 

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

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

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

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

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

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Prevent “Professional Patients” in Clinical Trials with an Effective Patient Identifier

COVID-19 has changed reality as we know it since it was first detected. Everything and everyone has been affected, and now, it has reached every continent in the world. But we are hearing all around us that there is light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel. Fortunately, after months of struggle and research, several vaccines have been approved for emergency use. Researchers have worked tirelessly to come up with these vaccines, but there are several factors that could have jeopardized the vaccines – one of these is professional patients that participate in clinical trials. Let’s take a look at what professional patients actually are, how they hamper the integrity of clinical trials, and how an effective patient identifier can help prevent them.

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Clinical trials are more crucial than ever

Clinical trials occur on a regular basis and they are an integral part of healthcare. They lead to new drugs, treatment, and medical devices that reduce recovery times, improve healthcare outcomes, and treat complex or deadly diseases. However, as of now, everyone’s focus is on creating vaccines for COVID-19, which is why clinical trials have been in the spotlight for most of the year.

Clinical trials are quite lengthy and can be risky, but offer the reward of helping scientists arrive at key breakthroughs in healthcare. However, one of the trickiest parts is to recruit patients that fit the requirements of the trial. The volunteers are compensated handsomely and receive treatment for the conditions, but only after thorough background checks are conducted to identify any discrepancies.

That being said, factors such as the existence of “professional patients” can significantly hamper the efficacy and integrity of clinical trials. They can jeopardize years of research, cause millions in losses, and cause promising drugs to remain unapproved. Since there is no effective patient identifier used in clinical trials, professional patients mostly get away with hampering the trials. But what exactly are professional patients, and what are their motivations? 

Professional patients in a nutshell

Professional patients are those individuals that participate in clinical trials quite frequently, and many of them even participate in multiple trials at once. Yes, there are many types of professional patients. However, all of them create data quality issues and inconsistent results and are a hazard to sponsors, CROs (clinical research organizations), and drug companies.

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The first type of professional patients is simply those who have the required medical condition(s) and participate in clinical trials for financial gains. They usually cannot afford treatment for their medical conditions, and thus sign up at multiple facilities, either one at a time or simultaneously. Since they get exposed to multiple untested drugs and receive multiple doses of said drugs, they severely impact the data quality, their own health, and might cause promising drugs to not leave even the initial testing phases.

The other type of professional patients is those who have the required condition(s) but are not in it for the financial benefits. Instead, they falsify information down the line for something far more dangerous. These patients fake results not because they want the treatments; they want regular access to the drugs. These patients are common in treatments regarding addictions. 

The final type of professional patients is those who falsify information. They don’t have the medical condition(s) required by the trial but want to be a part of it. Not only do they falsify information during enrollment, but they can also give false information during the trial itself, which is extremely dangerous! It leads the researchers to make decisions based on incorrect information and can cause the trial to shut down. 

The lack of an effective patient identifier costs millions

Drug companies, sponsors, and CROs pour an enormous amount of time, money, and resources into clinical trials. Unfortunately, all of these are rendered useless by professional patients, and the unreliable data created by these individuals can cost millions. However, the best way to detect and prevent such cases in clinical trials is by using an effective, experienced, and well-reputed patient identifier.

An effective patient identifier ensures the integrity of clinical trials

RightPatient is the leading biometric patient identification platform trusted by several healthcare providers. Used by over 80 hospitals and thousands of clinics, RightPatient is the perfect solution to prevent professional patients in clinical trials.

Patients are assigned a single and unique biometric identity during registration, and they can be identified using mobile devices as well. If professional patients come in, the system can simply red flag them, if registered, and prevent them from participating in the trial, ensuring data integrity in clinical trials. 

Use RightPatient and avoid millions in losses, improve the efficacy of clinical trials, and optimize operations – contact us now to learn how we can help.