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The Importance of EHR Optimization and 3 Strategies for Improvement

EHRs and EMRs are used interchangeably and they more or less serve the same function. In a nutshell, EHRs are a crucial part of the U.S. healthcare system and contain virtually all the information physicians and caregivers need to know about the patients. EHRs are required to ensure that the patients are receiving proper treatment plans, healthcare services, and so on. However, using EHRs is not enough – understanding them properly and ensuring EHR optimization is crucial as well, and the latter is something that many care providers miss out on.

That being said, let’s take a look at the importance of optimizing EHRs, how it benefits caregivers, and some strategies that help with optimization. 

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Importance of EHR optimization

Before diving deep into its optimization, let’s do a quick overview of EHRs. 

EHRs are the commonly used abbreviation for electronic health records and may contain a vast amount of health information such as patient names, billing information, progress notes, vitals, medical histories, medications, and treatment plans, lab test results, and much, much more. It is obvious that EHRs are extremely important and have a huge part to play in healthcare outcomes, billing, treatment workflow, etc. As a result, EHR optimization becomes even more important if caregivers want improvements in healthcare outcomes, fewer errors in medical billing, and so on. 

Unfortunately, many caregivers don’t keep up with EHR optimization, which leads to piling up issues and errors, unintuitive interface(s), duplicate medical records, and overlays, which cause patient mix-ups. All of this leads to patient safety incidents, preventable medical errors, billing and coding errors, or denied claims – impacting the ROI.

Just implementing an EHR system is not enough – providing ample training, customizing it to the hospital’s needs, ensuring proper governance, and using innovative solutions to bolster EHRs are crucial components to make it work. 

That being said, let’s take a look at some strategies that help with EHR optimization and ensure higher ROI, better bottom lines, reduced clinician burnout, fewer medical errors, and improved patient outcomes.

Strategies that bolster EHR optimization

Keeping EHRs accurately updated 

Ensuring that EHRs are updated at all times and are free of errors is a must. There are many cases where EHRs aren’t maintained accurately, leading to duplicate medical records or overlays. Not only do these issues with EHRs lead to wrong patient identification, but they also lead to patient safety incidents, denied claims, and might even cause deaths. One way to prevent these issues is by identifying patients accurately at all touchpoints, maintaining patient data integrity in the process. 

Receiving and incorporating feedback

One crucial fact that is overlooked by most caregivers is that feedback can lead to a host of improvements and optimization. Being open to feedback, receiving it, and incorporating it from the actual EHR users can drastically improve EHR usability. Physicians, clinicians, and registrars, among others, are the ones who use EHRs, and caregivers who are open to feedback from them can significantly improve their EHR systems by implementing required changes that optimize the workflow. Unfortunately, only around 34% of physicians are asked for feedback regarding the matter.

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Using solutions that bolster EHR systems and seamlessly integrate with them

EHRs bring a host of benefits to their users, provided that they are used appropriately and with the right solutions. Even EHR systems require support but that’s due to external factors. For instance, the lack of positive patient identification is still felt across the U.S. healthcare system because there’s still no standardized effective national patient identifier present. If truth be told, there might not be one in the near future – the project has been pending for around twenty years! 

However, there are solutions that seamlessly integrate with EHR systems and become part of the EHR workflow, one of the leading ones is RightPatient. 

As a touchless patient identification platform, RightPatient has been helping leading healthcare providers by identifying patients accurately in a safe and hygienic manner. Within hospitals, registered patients only need to look at the camera, and once RightPatient finds a match, it provides the EHR user with the accurate medical record.

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4 Innovative Ideas that can Bolster Transformation in Healthcare

It’s quite safe to say that healthcare has undergone radical changes since the pandemic struck with full force. While COVID-19 has had unprecedented effects on everyone and everything, it affected hospitals drastically and forced them to come up with alternatives that have led to transformation in healthcare, for instance, telehealth. While the pandemic is hopefully behind us as we return to the “old normal”, let’s take a look at some ideas that healthcare executives believe will transform healthcare and some technologies that already exist such as contactless patient identity verification solutions.

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4 ideas that bolster transformation in healthcare

Patient engagement and patient monitoring going full digital

While we have been hearing about remote patient monitoring and digital patient engagement for quite some time now, the CIO at Cherokee Nation Health Services believes that adopting said solutions into healthcare will vastly improve healthcare outcomes as patients will be more engaged regarding their health and wellness by putting the power in their hands. Not only do such solutions improve patient outcomes but they also allow both caregivers and patients to engage with each other in a more proactive manner beyond the healthcare facilities’ walls by means of text messaging, digital platforms, and chatbots, leading to a digital door, per se.

Introducing meaningful technology in relevant department(s)

The future of healthcare is digital, there is no doubt about that. Healthcare providers that are still using ancient methods and obsolete technology are beginning to feel the heat as the disadvantages keep on piling up. However, innovative hospitals and health systems are going the other way – they are overhauling their processes by implementing technology in almost all of their departments. For instance, while many are using RCM solutions, others are introducing technology in their HR department, inpatient services, nursing department, and so on. While it might not directly generate transformation in healthcare, implementing useful and relevant technology in various departments can bring in better talent, optimize operations, and improve healthcare outcomes – boosting the bottom line. 

Making telehealth a permanent part of the facility

While telehealth has been around for a long time and has not seen success until recently (in response to COVID-19), many caregivers are still quite wary about it. However, even the most skeptical ones cannot deny that it has introduced significant transformation in healthcare. For instance, patients can communicate with their caregivers from the safety and comfort of their houses and reduce significant risks and expenses, among other things. Caregivers can also divert non-critical patients towards virtual visits, reducing the pressure on physical locations and staff and keeping the physical patient volume low, something that is a must to keep COVID-19 at bay. 

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While telehealth can never replace conventional healthcare or in-person visits, it has definitely become an extremely useful tool of healthcare itself, something that caregivers must utilize to its full extent. It can save costs, improve patient satisfaction, enhance outcomes, and keep COVID-19 at bay – creating a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

Implement contactless technologies can truly introduce transformation in healthcare

Speaking of COVID-19, it has spread the fear of getting infected via physical contact to virtually everyone. This is quite surprising, as healthcare providers have always had this fear of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Hospitals that take patient safety seriously have always focused on infection control, and these are the ones that are always looking for contactless solutions. 

While COVID-19 has pushed infection control into overdrive, many recent innovations in this area include touchless IoT-based systems, patient check-ins, payments, and so on. However, did you know that touchless solutions were already being used in several hospitals across the U.S.?

That’s right – RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification system that responsible and innovative healthcare providers have been using for many years. Since it attaches patients’ photos to their medical records, patients only need to look at the camera to validate their identities. It can also be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it ideal for telehealth. RightPatient has been ensuring patient safety, hygiene, reducing denied claims, preventing medical identity theft, and much more via accurate patient identification.

Are you one of the providers who’s looking to introduce transformation in healthcare to your facility?

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Current Challenges in Clinical Research that Hamper Trials

Clinical trials have existed for a long time but they became even more important when COVID-19 raged. Traditionally, all vaccines, medical devices, and beneficial drugs designed for specific diseases are created by carrying out intensive tests to ascertain their safety and viability in treating the disease through clinical trials. The process of a clinical trial can be excruciatingly long and laborious with several factors that could deter its progress and success. We will discuss the notable challenges common to clinical research, how it affects the process and the results of clinical trials, how sponsors and Principal Investigators (PIs) leave crucial issues out unsorted, and how to best take advantage of patient identity verification.

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Preventing professional patients is possible with RightPatient.

Current challenges in clinical research 

Arduous, dangerous, time-intensive, and complex are the words that can fully capture the nature of the process that surrounds clinical trials. The trial is supervised by Sponsors and PIs to ensure that there are no violations of the rules and regulations to the letter such as the enrollment of the right amount of patients that fit the required conditions for the trials. They are also tasked with the stringent management of several trial sites. Here are some of the challenges that oppose the success of clinical trials.

Patient recruitment can pose a huge challenge

The most recurrent aspect in the list of current challenges in clinical research that often occurs right from the conception of the idea of a clinical trial is the issue of patient recruitment. Some of the problems, in this case, include the unresponsiveness of patients, the attraction of patients with conditions that do not fit the subject of the test, or poorly performing research sites. These could end the clinical trial before it even starts. If we are to delve into the lengthy list of the challenges of patient recruitment, it would take an entirely different article of its own.

The focus here is that there can be no clinical trial if test subjects are not available or they do not fit the criteria for the trial. The problems that may arise from the trials may result from the fact that research data was not enough to affirm the drug/vaccine’s effectiveness. Irrespective of the promising nature of the agent, the drug may fail to progress to the subsequent phases necessary for approval for general use.

Designing trials that ensure success

The process of designing a successful clinical trial is also one of the top challenges because it has to satisfy everyone. At the start, it was not so complex, all rules and regulations were often in their infancy, and things were always pretty easy.

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Current challenges in clinical trials – RightPatient addresses the overlooked one.

Modern clinical trials, however, have taken on a new shape of complexity with rules that must be adhered to from top to bottom. It must be simple for patients to understand and obey, it must proffer answers to rather difficult questions in the right way, and ultimately, it must satisfy the necessary stakeholders. Meeting expectations in a trial design is not easy. This makes it one of the most consistent of the current challenges in clinical research.

Ensuring and maintaining compliance with the rules and regulations

The healthcare industry is a highly monitored sector because of the gravity of the healthcare outcomes of patients in the system. The subsequent products of clinical trials such as drugs, vaccines, treatment processes, and medical devices represent outcomes, they are also subject to heavy regulations.

The existence and importance of the regulations are relateable but it also makes for a herculean task in strict compliance. The slightest discrepancy could hinder the trial and lead to a huge financial loss running up to millions. Maintaining and ensuring compliance remains a great challenge with unlimited imposed regulations.

Preventing professional patients

Professional patients is not a commonly discussed term whenever issues related to current challenges in clinical research are raised. Nonetheless, it is also a crucial issue. It goes by different terms like “professional study subjects” and “duplicate study subjects”, and they are individuals who are capable of thwarting the credibility of clinical trials. They are culpable for participating in multiple trials simultaneously or consecutively, thereby influencing ruining the overall results of the trials that follow.

A relevant illustration is that of a duplicate study subject that has been diagnosed with a heart condition and has participated in a trial and received dosages of an experimental drug. The subject then goes almost immediately to partake in another trial. The problem lies in the fact that the initial drug is still in their system and it will project wrongly on the second trial. There is also the danger attached to going to multiple trials as it will not only skew the results of the trials but will also be harmful to them.

These types of patients affect the integrity of clinical trials while also presenting a danger to their health. In addition, they could lead to losses worth millions and can lead to experimental agents being deemed as failures because of skewed results. Fortunately, RightPatient can prevent

If you are looking for the right tool to help in dealing with professional patients in clinical trials, you can count on RightPatient. It is a trusted touchless patient identification platform that has earned great reviews from top healthcare providers. It has ample capabilities and experience that could put an end to issues of professional patients effectively. The platform could help to save millions worth of losses, and mitigate delays in approvals, and enhancing the integrity of trials. RightPatient is the perfect way to prevent professional study subjects in clinical trials.

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Proper Patient Identification Mitigates Hospital Losses in Several Ways

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

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

COVID-19 further compounds the financial loss on healthcare providers 

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

2020 was a dark year for healthcare providers

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

Ways how proper patient identification cuts losses

Accurate patient identification reduces denied claims

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

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

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

Accurate patient identification improves patient safety

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

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

RightPatient ensures proper patient identification

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

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

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5 Strategies That Can Rebuild Revenue Cycle for Healthcare Facilities

As the pandemic wanes, at least for now, many businesses are rebuilding. The US healthcare sector is no exception, picking itself up and dusting itself down gingerly, preparing to welcome back patients and see an uptick in revenue again. Working on the revenue cycle for healthcare providers has never been more important.

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For some hospitals and departments, it’s already too late – the pandemic forced them to close. Others are hanging on, with staff returning from furlough and machinery being switched on and recalibrated for the first time in over a year. As more people are fully vaccinated, it becomes simpler to see patients in person again, which will lead to the increase in revenue the healthcare sector badly needs. However, it’s not all plain sailing. Providers could still lose over $120 billion this year, so it is vital to be careful with any attempts to ramp up income. The fewer denied claims there are, the better the bottom line will be. That being said, let’s take a look at some strategies that will help optimize the revenue cycle for healthcare providers.

5 strategies to enhance revenue cycle for healthcare providers

Check the existing revenue cycle management processes

The first option is to see whether any immediate improvements can be made to the existing system. This will be down to the back-end developers and IT specialists and will not be visible to patients. After that, it’s time to look at the patient-facing part of the cycle. Ensuring staff members are fully trained in customer service is a good place to start with optimizing revenue cycle management. That way, they will know what questions to ask when registering or checking in patients and how to check their insurance, treatment codes, and eligibility. They will know how long to allocate for different types of appointments and when to ask for immediate payment.

Use technology to your advantage

The easiest way to ensure that everything runs smoothly is by identifying patients accurately right from the start of the treatment process. This could be done using a patient identity verification platform such as RightPatient that eliminates the need for asking patients questions, patient record mix-ups, and more, reducing denied claims in the process.

That was just one example – optimizing the revenue cycle for healthcare providers is not difficult, it just needs a bit of help at times. Technology can be that hidden assistance.

Prompt, correct coding, and billing is key

An organization should not expect prompt payment if its internal processes are lax. Ensuring accurate coding and billing leads to lower chances of denied claims. Complete elimination of denied claims is impossible, because of some uncontrollable factors, but rigorous checking of coding will, in turn, generate accurate bills which are more likely to be agreed on the first time by the insurers.

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Utilize up-front collection

If possible, the up-front collection is the best way to optimize the revenue cycle for healthcare providers. This eliminates an entire step in the revenue collection process, as the bill does not need to be seen by accounts receivable at all. Instead, it lands on the collected revenue team’s side for processing. While this approach will not work for every patient, it can be an effective tool for immediate revenue generation.

Accurate patient identification underpins everything

Well-trained staff members are likely to know exactly how to identify a patient and take payment politely using a fast processing system, but the whole thing falls if the patient’s identity is incorrect on the system, or if changed details are input wrongly. Denied claims are annoying and time-consuming to rectify. There are ways in which technology can help minimize the chances of this happening, however. 

Getting the patient’s identity and billing details correct from the first interaction with them makes things so much smoother. It prevents duplicate medical records and overlays, for a start. If a patient only has one EHR, there is little to no chance that the insurer will find fault with the claim and so will settle the amount faster. Denied claims cost millions of dollars for every provider, often due to poor electronic health records and a lack of robust identity checks. Incorrect patient identification puts the patients at risk too.

One of the most innovative ways of ensuring accurate patient identification from the get-go is by using RightPatient. This touchless biometric patient identification platform is being used by several healthcare providers and has several benefits. It allows patients to identify themselves even in virtual consultations and during in-person visits, all they need to do is look at the camera, meaning that they don’t have to run the risk of others overhearing sensitive personal data when checking into a clinic. Nor do they have to use touchscreens or keypads to enter information – making it hygienic and safer than ever.

RightPatient is the solution that ensures accurate patient identification, reduces denied claims, duplicate medical records, and ensures fast billing.

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The Advantages of Telehealth and Why Hospitals Must be Cautious With It

Telehealth has been around for a while now, even if it only came to prominence during the last year. A paper from the University of California, Davis suggests that telehealth started in the early 1960s. Authoritative websites run by major healthcare providers have been around for at least 20 years. The last year or so has seen remote solutions come into their own, with regular consultations held by video call, support groups for all kinds of ailments moving to online platforms, and routine telephone screening used to allocate patients to the appropriate staff member – exposing virtually everyone to the advantages of telehealth.

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Given the pandemic, people were told to shelter in place. The healthcare system had no spare capacity to deal with seeing patients face to face. Patients were told not to attend the hospital or their regular clinic. Elective surgeries were canceled and routine appointments became virtual, conducted first by telephone and then by video call. The stuff of science fiction suddenly hit the mainstream – slowly demonstrating the advantages of telehealth.

Medical staff members are dealing with ever more complicated cases, among other things. Anything which can simplify and streamline this necessary engagement has to be tried, at least. The pandemic allowed a trial that otherwise might have been seen as driving patients away.

Remote healthcare has been growing in the last few decades. From emails requesting medical records or consultant second opinions, to routine online forms to fill out for regular repeat prescriptions or book appointments, the ability to integrate technology in healthcare is clear. Many primary healthcare practitioners no longer accept requests for repeat prescriptions by telephone but instead require patients to fill in their details online. Imaging reports can be filed online and shared electronically with a patient’s care team, while telephone or video consultations can save a patient having to visit the clinic unless a physical exam is necessary. This may allow the patient to fit the call into a scheduled break at work or arrange for others to take care of dependents for a short time.

The advantages of telehealth everyone loves

Telehealth does not necessarily even need anything more than a cellphone connection. A video connection may be preferable in some cases, but most screening and initial consultations can be carried out over the phone. No costly and time-consuming travel for the patient, no risk of delays for the practitioner. In these times of social distancing, it is best to minimize in-person contact, and telehealth is ideal for this. Patients who have been advised to shelter in place can still receive advice, treatment, prescriptions, and counseling with no risk to themselves or their specialist.

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Telehealth also speeds up the sharing of information between healthcare teams. A report and images can be shared by email over a secure link far quicker than a physical package can be delivered. Sharing patient information online can expedite care, which in turn can improve patient outcomes, quality, and safety in healthcare.

Telehealth needs to be used with caution

While there are numerous advantages of telehealth, it still needs to be used with caution. Technology can be used to help healthcare, as long as it is used securely and correctly. No one wants a patient safety incident resulting from misdirected confidential information or an incorrect bill, after all. Telehealth is more than simply a way to help hospitals improve their finances. Facilities need to ensure they can demonstrate to patients and staff that telehealth is secure as well as slick. It can allow patients to access healthcare when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, as it will put them in touch with a regular member of their team who is familiar with their case. This means a higher quality of care than if the patient was simply searching online for treatment options.

One option which is not mentioned so often is that telehealth visits can be billed faster. Good for the provider, not so great for the patient, who may also have to attend an in-person appointment for a physical examination after screening. Both the initial virtual consultation and the appointment on site are likely to be chargeable, even though initial screening has often previously been free. Some providers may decide to offer a package of mixed virtual and face-to-face appointments, but should always make this clear to the patient.

Telehealth is not for everyone

Telehealth is convenient for those who are busy and anyone who can get to grips with new software quickly. For patients who are not technologically aware, anyone who lives off the beaten track, in rural locations, or off-grid altogether, it is likely to be more of a challenge to access. Virtual consultations have their place, but in-person healthcare must remain for those who cannot or choose not to access it online.

Some patients will, after all, have reservations about virtual appointments due to concerns about data and personal security. A biometric touchless patient identification platform like RightPatient may help calm their worries. Because it is biometric rather than in-person or touchscreen activated, it can prevent medical identity theft during both telehealth or in-person visits.

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Improving Revenue Cycle in Healthcare Facilities in a Post-Pandemic World

The pandemic hasn’t only been difficult for the healthcare sector in terms of the number of patients treated and the severity of symptoms. For the American healthcare system, it meant a huge loss of revenue for everyday treatments, as every available resource pivoted to caring for the patients affected by COVID. Those facilities that couldn’t pivot were left with no option but to close and file for bankruptcy as their income was hit. Some managed to survive by furloughing their staff or redeploying them to care for the large number of seriously ill patients which COVID produced. As a result, revenue cycle in healthcare facilities took a huge hit.

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Some organizations, though, were luckier than others and were able to deploy remote triaging and virtual consultations by phone and video using the latest videoconferencing software – all of which can be bolstered by utilizing a touchless biometric patient identification platform such as RightPatient. This allowed them to continue to treat patients, and earn income, which softened the blow to their finances and helped both patients – who suffered no break in treatment – and staff – who were retained rather than furloughed.

Revenue cycle in healthcare facilities during the pandemic tanked, to put it mildly. Normal service dropped off a cliff and around three-quarters of healthcare providers had to put revenue cycle management in place, as well as ensuring employees could practice remotely and maintain effective social distancing when they did have to attend their workplace.

The return has started, remotely

Now that treatment cycles are returning to pre-pandemic levels in many places, the staff members are also returning to their usual roles. They are returning to treating their regular patients and making sure of their incoming revenue whilst minimizing the losses their facility may have suffered.

In order to optimize their abilities, staff members have learned how to use technology to help them assist patients remotely during the pandemic. This approach is likely to remain in place for those patients who are unable for any number of reasons to attend an in-person consultation.

One of the most popular ways to use tech in medicine is by organizing a remote consultation, by telephone or video call. This helps staff to find out quickly what ails their patient and can help them triage the patient more effectively, immediately. They can tell the caller at once whether they need to attend, offer an appointment if so and have all the notes from the call available when the patient comes in. If a referral is needed, the process can be started straight after the phone call, without waiting for an appointment or paperwork.

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Of course, processes still need to be followed. Not only does that enhance patient safety, but it also embeds the familiar for both patient and healthcare employee. Sorting out the paperwork before the patient arrives is of prime importance, and means everyone will know what is going to happen and what they can expect to be billed or paid for. Staff should check whether there is an authorization for the service under the patient’s insurance and what the patient’s responsibility is regarding this. Ensuring everyone is aware of charges and can reconcile them quickly is better for the provider’s income levels too. Being organized allows accurate expenditure planning, which helps everyone balance incoming revenue against outgoing expected payments.

Communication is key for improving revenue cycle in healthcare

Face-to-face, by email, text, shared app, or phone: no matter how teams communicate, it is best that they do. Patients with comorbidities or multiple conditions need dovetailed treatment, a patient pathway across several providers, and it is best to schedule appointments logically. Scheduling several simple appointments across nearby providers in one day is a possibility to reduce travel headaches for the patient, although it may make it an expensive time when the bills come due. That also relies on the finance and revenue cycle team knowing that they are to bill a particular insurance company for a defined treatment to a named patient on a given date. Communication makes all of these processes simpler and can help provide the necessary paper or electronic trails to ensure timely billing, and therefore prompt payment. The notification to finance should come from the clinical team, as they are treating the patient. They also know exactly which procedure was undertaken and how, so are best placed to ensure the billing is correct. 

An efficient billing cycle is one way to ensure reliable income, as everyone knows what is due to be paid, by whom, and when. It’s not just the medics and revenue billing team who have a part to play here either. Every healthcare professional who attends to the patient has a responsibility to produce documentation for their part in the patient’s care – all of this works towards optimizing revenue cycle management in healthcare facilities.

Technology can enhance revenue cycle in healthcare facilities

Accurate billing is essential when attempting to collect revenue. Billing the wrong patient, or a different insurance company, can delay payment and cause extra effort and paperwork for no gain. Correct patient identification at the start of the treatment cycle makes billing much simpler. A biometric touchless platform such as RightPatient can help eliminate patient misidentification and the nearly $5 million of denied claims which result.

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

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

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RightPatient improves the patient experience

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

Virtual consultations may not be for everyone

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

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

Normal, but not normal

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

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RightPatient has been improving the patient experience for several hospitals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Improve Healthcare Outcomes and Reduce Readmission Rates

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

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Improve healthcare outcomes with an effective patient identification platform

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

Identify your patient. Continue to identify your patient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RightPatient identifies patient records accurately

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

Sharing is caring.

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

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

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

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Professional Patients Are One of the Overlooked Issues in Modern Clinical Trials

Clinical trials and professional patients – we’ve been talking about them for quite some time now and how fraudsters are one of the overlooked issues in modern clinical trials. While most enrolled patients are strongly vetted and their backgrounds are thoroughly checked, we’ve already seen many times that the information they provide isn’t always accurate and how these fraudsters slip through the cracks and make it into the trials. However, we’ve got more stories that demonstrate how professional patients exist in trials.

That being said, let’s take a look at a few more studies regarding professional patients and how ensuring positive patient identification can prevent duplicate test subjects in clinical trials.

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Modern clinical trials are vulnerable to professional patients.

Stories from an expert about one of the critical issues in modern clinical trials

COO of Verified Clinical Trials, Kerri Weingard, stated that out of all the patients that apply to participate in U.S. trials, those who falsify information or violate criteria range between 14% – 25%.

How do they qualify?

Most of these fraudulent applicants’ actions are quite similar to those of professional patients. According to Ms. Weingard, a few of these individuals enroll in studies for specific diseases and even tamper with their medical history to participate in other trials either subsequently or simultaneously. Some claim that they have conditions in one trial, and they don’t have them in others! Quite a simple example would be a person who enrolls in a trial for heart disease and says that they have the condition. After enrolling successfully and completing the trial, they will alter their medical history and enroll in another study claiming that they have no medical conditions.

Ms. Weingard also says that this is most common with CNS (central nervous system) trials. For instance, diseases such as panic disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression cannot be detected objectively – research teams have to rely on the symptoms reported or demonstrated by the patients. Professional patients take advantage of this and exaggerate or falsify their symptoms to enroll in the trial. Moreover, as many of them are in it for the money, they go to other trials and state that they don’t have such symptoms. All in all, their symptoms are dependent on the requirements of the trial and they have the ability to pull off the deception in many cases.

More numbers that show duplicate study subjects

Ms. Weingard also presented a study at the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology meeting – it focused on professional patients, was conducted for three years, and included 113 CNS trials. The total population was exactly 10,092 individuals and there were 498 inclusion or exclusion protocol violations, out of which 91 violated the washout period, 45 tried to qualify for an entirely different study at the same site and 25 at other sites, and 42 were red-flagged for trying to “dual enroll” in more than one study simultaneously.

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Eliminate the participation of professional patients in clinical trials.

One thing is pretty clear – professional study subjects are one of the crucial issues in modern clinical trials, and a robust solution is needed to prevent them. One of the feasible ways is ensuring accurate patient identification with RightPatient – more on that later.

Another study states professional patients are a headache!

Dr. Thomas Shiovitz and his team conducted a study to determine the magnitude of the “professional patient” issue, and its title uses humor to express that professional patients are a headache in migraine trials.

Out of 2192 subjects who applied for the trials, around 19% attempted to register in a different site within 18 months. From this group, 24% of the subjects attempted to enroll in a different migraine trial and the rest of them (76%) tried to enroll in studies involving schizophrenia, depression, or even as healthy test subjects. 

While many agree that some professional patients are dangerous, they argue that others are naive and don’t know the rules and regulations about participating in such trials. For instance, they’re provided with endless pages of terms and conditions, and many of them don’t even read the entire document before they sign up. As a result, they don’t know how they might affect other trials if they enroll in the subsequent ones consecutively or simultaneously. This is perhaps one of the reasons why professional patients are one of the ignored issues in modern clinical trials.

However, regardless of the different perspectives, professional study subjects do harm the efficacy of clinical trials and might cause them to be halted, delayed, or even prevent them from proceeding to the subsequent phases because research results are skewed and contain inaccurate information.

RightPatient prevents one of the critical issues of modern clinical trials

The participation of professional patients in clinical trials must be prevented at all costs – something our touchless patient identification platform can achieve efficiently. 

RightPatient is the definitive patient identification platform used by responsible U.S. healthcare providers – it red flags fraudsters when they attempt to access care unlawfully. The platform can prevent professional patients in clinical trials as well. A patient won’t be able to enroll in the same trial twice, and if the information is shared across sites, they will be red-flagged when they try to enroll in the other sites.

Contact us now to learn more about how RightPatient can help protect the integrity of your trials effectively and efficiently.