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Patient-identification-errors-in-hospitals-can-be-eliminated-with-RightPatient

Patient Identification Errors in Hospitals Should be Eliminated Now Instead of Waiting for a UPI

Patient identification errors have been haunting the US healthcare system for decades now. In fact, the lack of effective patient identity management within the majority of hospitals and health systems is quite well-known as it is prevalent. Otherwise, groups would not have formed every year to appeal to Congress to finally approve a state-funded unique patient identifier (UPI). However, the coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc across the US, which is why accurate patient identification is needed more than ever. But should they still wait for Congress for a UPI, or is there a way to eliminate patient identification errors in hospitals now? The short answer to the latter is yes – RightPatient. Let’s dive deep into the issues caused by patient misidentification, what the healthcare industry is doing about it, and how leading providers are solving it.

Patient-identification-errors-in-hospitals-can-be-eliminated-with-RightPatient

Issues caused by patient misidentification

Patient misidentification has always caused a plethora of problems – for patients, healthcare providers, insurance companies – basically anyone involved with patient care. However, the pandemic has deemed the elimination of patient identification errors in hospitals more necessary than ever, so that patients can get faster, more accurate care, leading to improved health outcomes. So, what are the issues caused by patient identification errors?

Patient Identification Errors in Hospitals Should be Eliminated Now Instead of Waiting for a UPI
Patient Identification Errors in Hospitals Should be Eliminated Now Instead of Waiting for a UPI

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

The lack of accurate patient identification can create duplicate records or overlays (merged medical records of the same or different patients), causing a ripple effect and hampering patient safety by generating inaccurate patient information. For example, a patient with a common name comes into a provider’s facility, and without a robust patient identification platform, it will be quite difficult for the EHR user to determine the correct medical record for the patient. Thus, the healthcare official will either painstakingly search for the correct record, which is quite time-consuming, or else an entirely new record will be created, leading to just another duplicate record among the several existing ones. Duplicate records create patient safety issues – patients will be treated based on an incomplete or inaccurate medical history. For providers, the financial cost of duplicates can be up to $40 million, according to AHIMA.

Patient misidentification can also cause denied claims, which have a severe impact on the financials of hospitals and health systems. Suppose a patient is misidentified by the provider using an obsolete patient identification system. While the patient at the facility will be receiving the care, someone else will be charged inadvertently for the services as a result of patient identification errors. However, the medical record holder can simply let the authorities know that someone else had used the healthcare services, and thus, he/she will not be charged – leading to a case of claim denial. Denied claims can cost up to $4.9 million on average for any given healthcare provider.

Even during this ongoing and unprecedented health crisis, patient misidentification is quite common. It occurs because there is no proper way to match patients to their electronic health records (EHRs) within those providers’ facilities, and it leads to patient safety issues as well as reduced quality of care. Other issues patient misidentification causes are incorrect treatments, medications, and lab test results – hampering patient outcomes significantly. Given the current scenario of the healthcare system, these issues should be minimized as much as possible – something that RightPatient can help hospitals with.

What is the healthcare industry doing about it?

During a virtual briefing, the CEO of AHIMA, Wylecia Wiggs Harris, stated that COVID-19 shows how important accurate data is and why patient misidentification issues must be solved as soon as possible. 

Leading-healthcare-providers-use-RightPatient-for-positive-patient-identificationLikewise, other experts have been making similar statements. For instance, even COVID-19 test results were affected by patient identification errors. After the results came in, it was quite difficult to identify and search for the patients, as no accurate patient identity management system existed within the facilities.

Thus, healthcare leaders across the states are coming together to once again to ask Congress to lift the archaic ban on a state-funded UPI. However, if the past has anything to teach, it is the fact that the ban has been in effect for decades now. Lawmakers and officials placed the ban citing privacy concerns regarding a UPI, and it is quite unlikely that they will budge now.

Instead, many leading providers have taken it upon themselves to eliminate patient identification issues within their premises themselves. How are they doing that?  

Eliminate patient identification errors in hospitals now

Forward-thinking providers did not rely on Congress to remove the ban, which might not happen anytime soon, admittedly. Instead, they deployed RightPatient – the leading photo-based biometric patient identification platform.

It locks the medical records of the patients with their photos – a returning patient looks at the camera, allowing the platform to identify the correct medical record within seconds. It is completely hygienic and ideal for the current crisis. 

Our platform has been successfully reducing patient identification errors in hospitals and health systems. RightPatient ensures accurate patient identification, reduces claim denials, avoids duplicate medical records, and even prevents medical identity theft – improving patient safety and quality of care in the process.

Contact us now and ensure accurate patient identification at your facilities to stay ahead of the curve.

How-can-medical-identity-theft-occur-during-telehealth-visits

How Can Medical Identity Theft Occur During Telehealth Visits?

Telehealth has been around for years, but it has only been growing exponentially for the past few months. One of the biggest propellers that caused the surge in telehealth usage is the coronavirus pandemic, while the other reason is its benefit of taking healthcare out of the regular setting and setting up safe and remote environments for the patients and caregivers. While many predict that telehealth is here to stay after seeing how it can benefit caregivers and patients, health systems and hospitals need to focus on another important aspect – how can medical identity theft occur during telehealth visits, and is it preventable? Fortunately, it can be – with RightPatient. Let’s dive deep.

How-can-medical-identity-theft-occur-during-telehealth-visits

Telehealth skyrocketed due to COVID-19

Since telehealth was introduced, experts in the US healthcare system have been busy debating its pros and cons, affecting its growth and questioning its capabilities. However, as the pandemic has shown, telehealth has been extremely crucial for the US healthcare system during its ongoing battle against the pandemic. It has helped reduce the risk of more COVID-19 cases as non-COVID-19 patients were recommended to use telehealth instead of inpatient visits.

As previously mentioned, the biggest benefit of telehealth is that it enables patients and caregivers to engage in healthcare remotely. All they need is a good internet connection and devices to communicate with each other – eliminating any chances of contracting the virus as opposed to inpatient visits during the pandemic. Thus, it is no surprise that telehealth demand has been sky-high, with experts predicting over one billion visits during 2020 alone. While providers are quickly adapting to the changes and using telehealth, hospitals and health systems must also think about a serious problem – how can medical identity theft occur during telehealth usage?

How Can Medical Identity Theft Occur During Telehealth Visits?
How Can Medical Identity Theft Occur During Telehealth Visits?

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

Medical identity theft is all over the place

Medical identity theft is nothing new. Hackers steal valuable patient information through healthcare data breaches. They sell it for up to $1000 per record on the black market to fraudsters. Since healthcare is quite expensive, these fraudsters prefer buying patient information from hackers for a much cheaper price, shifting the healthcare costs onto the shoulders of the victims.

Medical identity theft is becoming quite prevalent. In 2019 alone, more patient records were breached in comparison to the previous three years combined. Medical identity theft leads to lawsuits, patient safety issues, settlement costs up to $250,000, unwanted attention, and loss of goodwill. Thus, it becomes increasingly necessary to ensure that medical identity theft is prevented, even during telehealth visits.Medical-identity-theft's-effects-can-be-mitigated-with-RightPatient

But how can medical identity theft occur during telehealth? Well, the stolen information can be easily used by the fraudster to bypass the obsolete patient identification systems most hospitals have – just like inpatient visits. Moreover, many patients sometimes even give their credentials to their family members or friends willingly – aiding them in medical identity theft. 

Such cases lead to added costs like medical record clean-ups, lack of patient data integrity, and patient safety issues, among other problems. Hospitals are facing huge losses already due to the pandemic, and they need to recover their losses if they want to survive in the future. One of the best ways to do all of that is by ensuring positive patient identification.

Accurate patient identification with RightPatient

RightPatient is the healthcare industry’s leading touchless patient identification platform. It locks the medical records of the patients with their photos upon enrollment. Whenever the patient comes, all he/she needs to do is look at the camera and the platform matches the photos and provides the correct medical record within seconds. RightPatient seamlessly integrates with the major EHR systems, enhancing the experience for providers as well. It is hygienic too, enhancing patient safety and reducing infection control issues.

While it has been ensuring accurate patient identification for providers for years, RightPatient brings the same expertise to telehealth. It can also be used to remotely validate a patient’s identity. Patients receive an SMS or email after scheduling an appointment, after which they need to take a selfie and photos of their driver’s license. RightPatient automatically matches the photos of the driver’s license and the selfie to validate patient identity – preventing medical identity theft in the process.

RightPatient has been successfully protecting over 10 million patient records and preventing fraudsters from harming patients while reducing healthcare costs, denied claims, lawsuits, and boosting the bottom lines in the process. Protect your patients – even during telehealth visits – with RightPatient. 

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Identifying Patients Accurately is Critical for Ensuring CMS Compliance

The US healthcare system has been going through a very challenging phase due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it looks like healthcare providers are going to have their hands full – they have another rule to comply with and must plan accordingly to ensure compliance by May 1, 2021. The fact that there have been additional changes to the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) is already well known among healthcare leaders. However, while many providers are already thinking about how they can ensure compliance, they might leave out one significant factor that can make or break the entire effort – are they identifying patients accurately? Why is this important? How does patient identification fit in with the new changes? How can providers ensure accurate patient identification? Let’s explore in detail.

Identifying-patients-accurately-is-possible-with-RightPatient

CMS Interoperability & Patient Access Final Rule

While the entire healthcare system has been suffering from the lack of interoperability, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have made some changes to the CoPs to ensure that there is some degree of interoperability, believing that it will have positive effects on care coordination as well.

The “companion final rule”, as per CMS, mandates that healthcare providers like acute care, psychiatric, and critical access hospitals send out e-notifications during every patient admission, discharge, or transfer (ADT) to the designated recipients (read: providers and other entities primarily responsible for patient’s care). This is applicable for both inpatient admissions and patients registered in the emergency departments (EDs).

Patient-identification-in-hospitals-using-RightPatientMoreover, the providers obligated to follow the ADT requirements must make enough effort to ensure that they have sent out the notifications to the applicable parties (suppliers, entities, practitioners, etc.) in real-time.

Any given healthcare provider that uses digital medical records like EMRs or EHRs needs to ensure compliance with the updated CoPs for e-notifications. COVID-19 has extended the deadline – healthcare providers now have until May 1, 2021 to ensure compliance with the recent changes. 

Why are the CoPs important?

What is the biggest reason to ensure CMS compliance? Financial factors like CMS reimbursements and avoiding non-compliance penalties are more than ample motivators. Healthcare providers need to be compliant in order to safeguard their CMS provider agreement – it determines whether the providers are able to receive reimbursements or not, which can be quite significant in some cases. If providers do not ensure compliance, not only will their agreements be in jeopardy, restricting them from receiving reimbursements, but they might also face penalties. Given the current healthcare crisis that has crippled almost every caregiver, more financial woes are something any provider would want to avoid. 

What the healthcare providers are doing

Since the deadline has been extended to May 1, 2021, leading figures of healthcare providers are brainstorming about how to comply with the change – should they build an in-house e-notification system themselves, or should they buy from experienced vendors? Whatever option providers go with, they are not addressing the elephant in the room – are they identifying patients accurately?

Identifying Patients Accurately is Critical for Ensuring CMS Compliance
Identifying Patients Accurately is Critical for Ensuring CMS Compliance

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

How identifying patients accurately is related to e-notifications

Think of it this way – patient identification in hospitals is already inaccurate. In fact, many healthcare providers face patient identification errors due to duplicate medical records, medical record overlays, and patient mix-ups, among other problems. These lead to issues like compromised patient safety, unwanted patient outcomes, avoidable medical errors, and even deaths.

So, it has already been established that if a hospital does not have an accurate patient identity management system, then it causes a lot of problems for the facility. Can you imagine what will happen if the hospital goes for an e-notification platform without identifying patients correctly first?

Issues like common names and characteristics shared by patients are already quite prevalent and cause patient mix-ups. If such a case occurs while sending out e-notifications, then the wrong patient’s data will be provided to the subsequent caregiver. Thus, patient mix-ups and incorrect patient identification cases during ADT notifications will wreak havoc – delays in treatments, medical errors, and lawsuits are just some of the consequences of such scenarios. It will be a nightmare for any given provider. Hospitals and health systems that are not identifying patients accurately at their facilities need to eliminate these errors to ensure CMS compliance and avoid any unwanted consequences. They need to ensure patient data integrity by ensuring positive patient identification every time a patient comes in. That’s where we can help.

Identifying patients accurately with RightPatient

CMS-compliance-requires-proper-patient-identification-for-e-notificationsRightPatient is the healthcare industry’s leading photo-based biometric patient identification platform. It seamlessly integrates with the major EHR systems and becomes part of the workflow. Patients are registered by locking their medical records with their photos. After enrollment, incoming patients only need to look at the camera and the platform matches the photos and provides accurate medical records within seconds. This ensures a safe, easy, touchless, and hygienic patient identification experience for everyone.

RightPatient ensures that the correct patient is identified every time across the care continuum, helping you maintain patient data integrity. With RightPatient, you can send out the correct patient’s notification every time, ensuring CMS compliance and safeguarding your patients and, in turn, your business.

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Optimizing Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever

While the US is still suffering from the effects of the highly contagious COVID-19, it has arguably hit its healthcare system worse than anything else. Around 1.4 million people working in healthcare have lost their jobs. The number itself is quite shocking, however, what makes it worse is that the pandemic has changed everything. For instance, the US healthcare system used to be unaffected by any recessions, but COVID-19 has shown otherwise. This is because numerous hospitals have declared layoffs, furloughs, or are even shutting down due to unimaginable financial pressure. With that in mind, as hospitals are opening up, they need to reduce their losses right off the bat, otherwise, it will be hard for anyone to survive. Thus, revenue cycle management in healthcare is more crucial than ever now.

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The numbers are drastic

It has already been mentioned that over 1.4 million healthcare professionals lost their jobs. That’s not where it stops, though. Since hospitals made the difficult but necessary choice to prepare for the overwhelming amount of COVID-19 patients by shutting down non-emergency care at their premises, they became financially crippled. The American Hospital Association stated that hospitals are losing a mindboggling $50 billion a month, due to the fact that they are seeing an extremely low number of patients – as low as 70%. Revenue cycle management in healthcare has always been a much-discussed topic, however, as the numbers show, it is of utmost importance now to optimize revenue cycles by reducing costs and mitigating losses – something that RightPatient can help healthcare providers with. But how does optimized revenue cycle management help hospitals deal with the financial crisis?

Benefits of optimized revenue cycle management in healthcare

Reduced denied claims

A streamlined revenue cycle depends on the level of accurate data present within the system. If there is a high level of accuracy, it reduces the chances of denied claims. Usually, denied claims occur when there are mistakes in payment claims. One example is when patients are mistakenly charged for services they have not used. RightPatient ensures that the patient is accurately identified from the beginning to the end of the process – substantially reducing denied claims. 

Benefits-of-optimized-revenue-cycle-with-RightPatient

Enhanced patient experience

An optimized revenue cycle means that the FTEs will spend less time on redundant tasks such as rechecking coding and billing for errors and focus more on providing better care to the patients – enhancing the patient experience. 

Higher and faster collections 

It is quite simple – if the revenue cycle is optimized, there will be higher collections with a lower number of errors. FTEs, thus, do not have their hands full of coding and billing errors – giving them the time to focus on the remaining collections, improving efficiency in the process. 

Accurate patient information 

An optimized revenue cycle means that you are ensuring patient data integrity; that is, from the beginning of caregiving to collections, the correct patient has been identified. This can be easily achieved using an accurate patient identification platform like RightPatient.

Optimizing Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever
Optimizing Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

Better financial returns

One of the most vital parts of a healthcare provider that everyone scrutinizes, other than treating patients, is its financial performance. After all, these are the indicators as to how well a provider is doing. An optimized revenue cycle means that there are increased clean claims, faster collections, lower lost claims, and accurate patient data – all leading to improved revenue of the provider.

Since COVID-19 is still affecting the financial performance of providers, they need to ensure that their revenue cycle is as optimized as possible. 

Optimize revenue cycle with RightPatient

Optimized revenue cycle management in healthcare means that you need to have the correct data for the patient and you are ensuring that he/she is being billed accurately throughout the whole process. Thus, for a better revenue cycle, you need to ensure accurate patient identification. This is where RightPatient can help you.

It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform and is used by leading healthcare providers for a number of reasons. It prevents medical identity theft, optimizes the revenue cycle, reduces denied claims, prevents duplicate record creation, enhances patient safety, and more – leading to improved financials, boosting the bottom lines in the process. 

Upon registration, RightPatient locks the medical records of the patients with their photos. Whenever an enrolled patient comes in, all he/she needs to do is look at the camera and it identifies them within seconds, providing the correct patient record to the EHR user and ensuring accurate patient identification. This ensures that the correct patient is identified right from the start – reducing billing errors and denied claims and optimizing revenue cycle in the process. This is something that every provider needs to ensure to survive during this unprecedented situation.

RightPatient has years of experience and has been helping protect over 10 million patient records. Duke Health and Community Medical Centers, among others, are using RightPatient to ensure safe, hygienic, and accurate patient identification. Are you optimizing your revenue cycle sensibly? 

Accurate-patient-identity-management-can-be-ensured-with-RightPatient

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

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

Accurate-patient-identity-management-can-be-ensured-with-RightPatient

Reasons for patient identification errors

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

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

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

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

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

Common patient identity management solutions

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

RightPatient-is-the-leading-accurate-patient-identity-management-solution

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

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

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

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

The futureproof patient identity management solution

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

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

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

RightPatient-ensures-touchless-and-hygienic-patient-identity-verification

Patient Identity Verification Must be Touchless After COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has been the biggest changemaker in recent decades. After months of lockdown, social distancing, and gradual reopening of society, new cases are being seen in the US again. While everything may seem uncertain for now, one thing is for sure – COVID-19 has changed reality for everyone. Going to restaurants and hanging out with friends are things of the past now and there is no telling when all this will be normal again. The coronavirus has highlighted one thing in particular that will stay for us with a long time to come – how to reduce physical contact with others. Healthcare providers have had headaches of infection control issues for years now, but it is the headache of the average patient after the pandemic shook the world. While there will be a rise in usage and demand in touchless technology in the future, such as facial/voice recognition attendance systems, printing board passes via gestures, etc., one area where it is crucially needed is during the patient identity verification process. Let’s analyze the current condition of patient identification processes used, why a uniform identifier is not used by providers, and how leading healthcare providers are ensuring accurate patient identification.

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Patient identity verification – the current scenario

Patient identification errors have been a much-discussed topic in this space, and for good reason. It is still one of the biggest problems healthcare providers are facing – leading to denied claims, medical identity theft, increased losses, and patient safety issues. While ineffective patient identity verification is a prevalent issue, different providers are implementing different solutions to solve them. But shouldn’t there be a uniform method of patient identification present? That is where the UPI comes in.

The mythical UPI

UPIs, or unique patient identifiers, have been the talk for years now. UPIs can be anything that is, as the name suggests, unique to a single patient. Its absence has led to quite a few problems within the US healthcare system, including duplicate medical records, waste, and preventable medical errors. In fact, John Hopkins has said that over 250,000 people in the US die due to medical errors, many of which are due to incorrect patient records and data. These unfortunate deaths could have been avoided with accurate patient identification. But why, then, is UPI still not a thing? Why do healthcare providers still struggle with patient identification? 

Healthcare providers, as well as respected leaders in the healthcare system, have been clamoring for a UPI for years now. In fact, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) mandates that a UPI be created for patients. However, there have been concerns since the beginning of talks regarding a UPI – how it might be stolen, misused, or worse, just like Social Security numbers. Basically, lawmakers were concerned as to how UPI could be kept private and confidential so that third parties cannot gain unauthorized access to it. Thus, back in 1998, Congress banned the authorization of a state-funded UPI. The stance has not changed after all these years. Even in 2019, the House of Representatives voted to revoke the ban, but the Senate let it stay. The lack of an effective patient identifier has been haunting the US healthcare industry ever since the UPI was banned in 1998.

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How is the US healthcare system verifying patient identity?

Different healthcare providers are using different methods for patient identity verification. However, most of them are rendered ineffective now due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, only healthcare providers used to think about infection control issues. Now, it is a headache for the patients as well.

While some are waiting around for the government to approve a state-funded UPI, they are facing a constant struggle with the usage of an obsolete means to identify patients – asking them questions. This has a lot of loopholes – it is slow, tedious, and anyone can assume the identity of the patient as long as they have the patient’s data with them, leading to medical identity theft.

Others are using patient ID wristbands. While more effective than asking questions, this, too, can be stolen, transferred, and used to commit medical identity theft. Not to mention, these require physical contact as well, something that patients will very much be reluctant to do nowadays – a result of the pandemic.

An effective patient identity verification system is biometric patient identification. Once again, not all modalities are effective, safe, and practical. As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has changed reality for all of us – patient identification is no exception.

Patient Identity Verification Must be Touchless After COVID-19
Patient Identity Verification Must be Touchless After COVID-19

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

While biometric modalities like fingerprint and palm-vein scanning are effective, they require the one thing patients will not be ready to do for a long time – touch the device to verify their identities. Hospitals are the epicenter of infection control issues, and while every provider has been dealing with COVID-19 patients, regular patients will be quite hesitant to touch anything. This is especially applicable during patient identification, as they know all patients pass through this location, and contact-based devices might lead to infections.

Touchless patient identity verification is the future

This is where RightPatient comes in. We have been providing hospitals with a touchless biometric patient identification platform for years now. Since the beginning, our focus was to ensure patient safety, which is why we always suggested healthcare providers consider our touchless solution that eliminates any infection control headaches related to patient identification. Unlike touch-based solutions, our devices do not require cleaning after every use.

The medical records of the patients are locked with their photos upon registration. Whenever the patient returns, RightPatient identifies the right medical record within seconds after the patient looks at the camera. 

RightPatient has been serving leading healthcare providers like Community Medical Centers, University Medical Center, and Duke Health. It has helped with eliminating the creation of duplicate medical records, preventing medical identity theft, and enhancing patient safety through accurate patient identification in a hygienic manner.

We shared the same concerns healthcare providers have – how to ensure accurate patient identity verification while eliminating infection control issues. After the pandemic, patients have the same concern too. Are you addressing it correctly? If not, contact us right away.

RightPatient-helps-to-identify-patients-correctly

Identify Patients Correctly to Reduce Significant Healthcare Costs

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the whole world off-balance, and even though the world is opening up in places, it is still continuing to affect lives on a daily basis. Amidst all the chaos, healthcare became one of the most important parts of the economies across the world, and the US is no exception. However, with the overwhelming number of coronavirus patients who needed the utmost care, hospitals had to reallocate all of their efforts towards the affected patients – leading to hard decisions for other services provided. This resulted in the past few months being full of furloughs, layoffs, and salary cuts due to huge financial instabilities. As the US healthcare system slowly continues to open up in phases and resume its normal practices, healthcare providers need to focus on reducing costs further. One of the most effective ways to do that is to identify patients correctly. 

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Why hospitals need to identify patients correctly

There are a lot of issues associated with the US healthcare system. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals had their fair share of problems. One of the more prominent ones was the lack of accurate patient identification.

Whenever a patient comes to the hospital, the EHR (electronic health record) user will ask for information such as name, DOB, address, etc., which will help them obtain the correct medical record from the system. This will prepare the patients to obtain healthcare services, expecting to leave with better health after the treatment. Thus, healthcare begins with the hospital identifying the accurate medical record of the patient. 

Even though it sounds quite easy and straightforward, that is not the case. Human errors, negligence, and inconsistencies can lead to issues within the EHR systems. Even the smallest of mistakes can lead to large problems, jeopardizing patient safety. The most common problems within the EHR systems are known as duplicate medical records and overlays. Other than that, even patients with common names and demographic characteristics can be mixed up by healthcare providers, leading to disastrous consequences.

Some examples 

Last November, Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital mixed up two patients, which led to a patient getting the wrong kidney transplant. Thankfully, the wrong patient was compatible with the kidney, so no serious harm was done. However, not every patient mix-up case is as lucky. The same is true for misidentifications caused by duplicate records and overlays. After the incident at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, they started using four identifiers altogether. Practically, it will still be quite ineffective, as human errors are bound to happen. Moreover, if there are duplicate medical records or overlays in the EHR system, like the majority of healthcare providers, then even the four identifiers will not prove useful. The EHR user will simply get confused between the duplicates and overlays and may end up choosing the wrong record inadvertently.

RightPatient-reduces-significant-healthcare-costs

Finding the accurate medical record of a patient within an EHR system that has duplicates is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Take the case of Harris Health System. After a thorough analysis, they found some interesting numbers. It houses around 3.4 million patient records, out of which 7.3% had the common case where two or more patients had the same first and last names. 2.2% had a common case where five or more patients shared the same first and last names. There were 2,488 patients named Maria Garcia, out of which 231 Maria Garcias had the same DOBs. It is more than likely that some of those 231 records of Maria Garcias are duplicates or overlays. This can easily confuse any given EHR users while identifying patients, and unless an effective way to identify patients is used, the problems will keep on compounding.

How big a problem is patient misidentification?

According to AHIMA, smaller hospitals can have around 5-10% of duplicate medical records. On the other hand, larger health systems can house up to 20% duplicate records within the EHR systems of their different hospitals. These duplicates can easily cost up to $40 million for any provider.

Patient misidentification also hampers patient safety. Whenever a patient is wrongly identified, he/she will be treated based on the wrong medical record, medical history, allergies, medication, lab test results, and so on. The bigger the complexity, the more danger the patient faces. There have even been cases where patient mix-ups have caused deaths. These seriously damage the goodwill of the healthcare providers. Not only that, but providers also face heavy financial repercussions in the form of denied claims, lawsuits, and poor revenue cycle management. Lack of proper patient identification leads to increased medical identity theft as well – all of which RightPatient can prevent.

Is it possible to identify patients correctly?

RightPatient-makes-accurate-patient-identification-possible

Patient misidentifications have been around for years, and with them, talks of an effective patient identifier have been around as well. While many healthcare leaders have been clamoring to get the archaic ban on state-funded UPI (unique patient identifier) lifted for years, it has not led to fruition yet. Last year, while the House of Representatives supported abolishing the ban, the Senate did not agree, leading to more misidentification cases, increased medical identity theft, and avoidable deaths.

However, healthcare leaders have taken it upon themselves to identify patients correctly. Many are using different platforms to identify patients accurately – fingerprint scanning, palm-vein scanning, and so on. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all of these will be considered dangerous as they require patients to touch the device every time they come in for healthcare services. Everyone now knows how big of a deal infection control issues are, and patients will be extremely hesitant to touch any such device in the foreseeable future. Moreover, maintaining such devices is quite taxing – cleaning it after a patient uses it is itself a nightmare. 

Identify Patients Correctly to Reduce Significant Healthcare Costs
Identify Patients Correctly to Reduce Significant Healthcare Costs

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

Progressive leaders have opted for a futureproof solution – RightPatient. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that locks the medical records of the patients with their photos. After registration, all the patient needs to do is look at the camera and RightPatient matches their photos and accurately retrieves their medical records within seconds. It is not only easy to use but is also hygienic, as it requires no physical contact nor cleaning after every use, making it the only sensible choice as hospitals are opening up. Leading providers like Terrebonne General Medical Center, University Health Care System, and several others are using RightPatient to protect over 10 million patients – preventing duplicate record creation, preventing medical identity theft, reducing denied claims, and minimizing losses. Are you cutting down these costs effectively, since it is of utmost importance now?

Improving-Patient Safety-in-Hospitals-is-easier-with-RightPatient

Improving Patient Safety in Hospitals as They Reopen Post-COVID-19

To say that the coronavirus pandemic will change the world is an understatement. It can never be stressed enough as to how much it has and will continue to impact our lives. After lockdowns were implemented for months to reduce the cases of infections, states are opening up slowly with precautions still in place. The US healthcare system is no exception – some providers are planning to open up while shuttered hospitals are planning to reopen due to the coronavirus. With all that in mind, one issue must have the highest priority now – improving patient safety in hospitals. This article will talk about some ways in which hospitals can reopen safely along with tools that can help them do that.

Improving-Patient Safety-in-Hospitals-is-easier-with-RightPatient

Improving patient safety in hospitals – some strategies

Come up with a plan

As the US is in a very delicate situation right now, it can only be helped if the providers reopen safely and treat the patients successfully, and all of this starts with an effective plan. Plan the important days accordingly, especially the reopening day. It is wise to take it slowly and reopen in phases rather than opening a hospital all at once, but more on that later. Make an inventory of all the necessary tools and materials at hand that are required for protecting and serving patients, especially PPE. Reordering might be required, so ensure that it is done well in advance to reduce disruptions while providing healthcare services. Also, if not already in place, plans must be made on how to deal with patients or employees with COVID-19 on the premises. This will be the new normal for quite some time, so planning for such scenarios ahead will be beneficial.

Open in phases

While many are already adopting this strategy, it is still worth mentioning why it is important. Opening in phases can help detect which areas of the hospital still need to be addressed, if required, and can be done so easily. Moreover, this will also help to accommodate employees on alternate days—reducing contact and risk of contracting the virus. It will give an overview of the problems and opportunities and give everyone time to come up with solutions for dealing with them.

Strategies to-improve-patient-safety-in-hospitals-RightPatient

Have safety measures in place

Even though there will be immense pressure on health systems, they need to ensure that patients are not overflowing all the time to maintain social distancing to some extent. For starters, hospitals need to ensure that patients are segregated to keep the ones potentially infected with COVID-19 separated from the ones that do not have it, improving patient safety in hospitals. 

Ensuring that everyone on the premises is wearing PPE is a must. Also, ensuring that everyone is maintaining distance, whether employees or patients, is quite important—rearranging layouts to ensure that distance is maintained can help. Also, ensure that minimal contact is required, especially in places like the EDs, since that is where most cases will be present. 

If employees exhibit any of the symptoms of COVID-19, encourage them to take leaves, as keeping them in the workplace will only make matters worse. 

Support your remote employees

Telehealth has been one of the most useful tools during the pandemic, and it will be used thoroughly in the future as well. Ensure that the remote physicians are properly accessing and using the tools required for telehealth so that the patients who can be served via telehealth do not need to come to the premises, reducing the chances of infections.

However, other than physicians, other employees are also working from home either on alternate days or for the foreseeable future. This is being done to reduce infection rates by practicing social distancing. Ensure that the employees are receiving enough support to carry out their tasks to provide better healthcare outcomes, improving patient safety in hospitals in the process.

RIghtPatient-improves-patient-safety-in-hospitals

Use solutions to reduce infection rates and administrative burden

The US healthcare system is inundated with a plethora of problems. While they are not new and have solutions to mitigate them, many are still not using these solutions; thus, they are still suffering from the issues. With the coronavirus pandemic in mind, it is high time that these problems are addressed by healthcare providers. 

First off, let’s look into HIPAA compliance issues. Even though HIPAA penalties have been relaxed, for now, there are still many rules and regulations that need to be followed. While healthcare providers are already working around the clock to serve patients, ensuring HIPAA compliance can be a huge challenge, given the situation. Using solutions like HIPAAReady can reduce the administrative burden and simplify compliance management. With internal auditing, training management, and keeping HIPAA information in a centralized location, HIPAAReady is already an attractive HIPAA compliance software to mitigate HIPAA compliance issues.

Patient identification errors, on the other hand, have been haunting providers for decades. It has been an impediment to improving patient safety in hospitals. While many have been using different identification solutions like fingerprint scanning and palm-vein scanning, the pandemic will render these modalities obsolete. Earlier, infection control issues were only a headache of the providers, but the pandemic will make patients reluctant to use any identification solution requiring touch. Fortunately, there are already touchless biometric patient identification solutions available with RightPatient being the most appropriate one. After registration, the platform requires the patient to only look at the camera. The platform matches it with the registered template and retrieves the accurate medical record within seconds. All of these require no physical contact from the patient, enhancing patient safety as well as acceptance.

Improving Patient Safety in Hospitals as They Reopen Post-COVID-19
Improving Patient Safety in Hospitals as They Reopen Post-COVID-19

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

Providers like Terrebonne General Medical Center and Community Medical Centers are already using RightPatient and have chosen it as there are no infection control issues surrounding the platform like other modalities, making it an ideal patient identification solution in a post-COVID-19 world. When providers are losing millions due to the pandemic, deploy RightPatient and mitigate losses by ensuring touchless patient identification, preventing medical identity theft, and reducing denied claims. 

Touchless-patient-identifiers-kike-RightPatient-are-crucial-for-the-future

Touchless Patient Identifiers are Crucial Now – Are you Using Them?

COVID-19 has changed everything – the way we live, the way we interact with each other, and the way we work. However, it has impacted healthcare around the world most. The US healthcare system is overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 patients and the frontline workers are still risking their lives to save patients. While the numbers are still rising, many healthcare providers in the US are partially reopening, or are at least planning to do so. With that in mind, do they have the right tools to reduce infection control issues at the places where they are the most common – EDs? What kind of patient identifiers are they using, and do these solutions create or reduce infection control issues?

Touchless-patient-identifiers-kike-RightPatient-are-crucial-for-the-future

Why patient identifiers are needed

Patient identification errors have been rampant across the US healthcare system – that’s no secret. They cause medical errors, leading to deaths. Another study showed that 72% of misidentification cases occurred during patient encounters, whereas 12.6% happened during intakes – just showing how common and serious they are. 

These patient identification errors occur because of several reasons. Duplicate medical records and medical record overlays are some of the more common culprits – health systems with multiple facilities can house up to 20% duplicates, and can cost around $40 million for any healthcare provider. When a patient comes in, the EHR user naturally gets confused when he/she sees that there are multiple records for the same patient. This either leads to delays in treatments or else causes medical errors if the wrong EHR is chosen.

RightPatient-helps-with-accurate-patient-identification

Lack of accurate patient identification also leads to medical identity theft. When an actor comes in and assumes the identity of the victim, the hospital cannot determine the anomaly without a concrete patient identifier in place. Thus, patient identifiers are quite crucial for providers.

The best patient identifier post-COVID-19

COVID-19 has reignited the fear of infection control issues among the general public – it has shown how dangerous contagious diseases can be. People are practicing social distancing for their safety and it looks like this will be the norm for quite some time. Even when the pandemic is over, the fear of diseases via contact will still linger among people. That fear will be even more pronounced when they visit hospitals. 

Prevent-medical-identity-theft-with-RightPatient

While hospitals were already worried about infection control issues, these have become a topmost priority now for all of them. One of the hotspots of infection control issues is the EDs – infected patients can pass the contagious diseases to others if they contaminate materials such as patient identification devices that require contact. However, after the pandemic, the majority of patients will be highly reluctant to interact with a patient identification device which requires touch, since most of them are well-informed about how harmful they can be. While devices like fingerprint and palm-vein scanners might be accurate, they are not hygienic and will simply increase infection control issues if used further. Also, maintaining the cleanliness of such devices can be an arduous task – cleaning them after every patient touches them is not practical or efficient.  

This is where RightPatient comes in. It is a contactless biometric patient identification platform that locks the medical records of the patients with their irises or facial patterns. After registration, returning patients simply look at the camera and the platform identifies them within seconds, retrieving the appropriate medical record for use – it’s that easy! RightPatient is hygienic as well, as no physical contact is required. That’s why leading healthcare providers like Terrebonne General Medical Center are using it. 

Touchless Patient Identifiers are Crucial Now - Are you Using Them?
Touchless Patient Identifiers are Crucial Now - Are you Using Them?

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

Contactless patient identifiers are the future, and RightPatient is the perfect one for you to reduce infection control issues in a post-COVID-19 world. Are you part of that future? 

ensure-revenue-integrity-RightPatient

5 Strategies to Ensure Revenue Integrity in Healthcare

Many healthcare providers were struggling financially before the pandemic. But now, the U.S healthcare industry is on the verge of financial disaster. According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals are bleeding approximately $50 billion per month due to canceled elective procedures and costs associated with treating COVID-19 patients. Many non-COVID patients have also stopped seeking primary care visits, including patients with life-threatening conditions, because they are worried about exposures. In addition, claim errors, denials, and payment delays that result from inaccurate patient identification, duplicate medical records, and medical identity theft still persist, all of which affects revenue integrity. 

ensure-revenue-integrity-RightPatient

Adopting Value-Based Reimbursement (VBR) models has shown to have economic advantages but poses a real challenge for healthcare providers alongside ever-changing healthcare compliance regulations. Siloed workflows, data proliferation, and disparate systems make it difficult to achieve the collaboration that is needed for VBR to yield optimal results. However, intelligent revenue cycle management can be the key to achieving financial stability and revenue integrity. 

Identify the problem

Today’s environment requires automating workflows and considering the whole revenue cycle process to ensure revenue integrity. Healthcare providers want an easy, seamless way to manage revenue cycle without errors, such as those caused by patient identification issues. Considering the lack of electronic medical record (EMR) system capabilities to adequately address the critical need for accurate patient identification, it is vital to leverage complementary technologies with core-specific competencies that can improve the overall revenue cycle. For example, improving patient identification and matching processes at the front-end of the revenue cycle process can significantly reduce costs. 

As an industry-leader in touchless patient authentication, RightPatient has been helping many healthcare organizations reduce claim errors and denied claims by ensuring accurate patient identification. By eliminating denied claims linked to identification errors, healthcare providers can reduce the burden of back-end activities in the revenue cycle and simplify the reimbursement process to ensure revenue integrity.

Rely on technology

Adopting technology is also essential to ensure that clinical teams across the healthcare ecosystem are accessing high quality shared data to produce the best outcomes. Augmenting the organization’s core systems with complementary technologies on a single, integrated platform enhances internal collaboration with other teams or departments. For instance, RightPatient crosses departmental silos and brings transparency to patient healthcare data across disparate domains. Transparency across teams is critical. RightPatient will ensure that a holistic and accurate medical record of each patient can be accessed by clinical and operational staff members no matter where the patient is authenticated. By automating the patient identification and authentication process, RightPatient improves clinical outcomes and enables staff to proactively focus on other areas where their expertise has the most impact.

ensure-revenue-integrity-and-clinical-efficiency-with-rightpatient

Ensure compliance

According to the National Association of Healthcare Revenue Integrity (NAHRI), the goal of revenue integrity is to prevent issues that lead to revenue leakage or compliance risks through effective, efficient, and internal controls across the care continuum, supported by strong documentation and sound financial practices that can withstand audits at any time. 

Violation of healthcare compliance is a major contributing factor to financial losses. For instance, HIPAA violations are becoming more common across the U.S healthcare system. HIPAA compliance software, on the other hand, can help address this issue. Such software allows healthcare providers to simplify their compliance efforts and manage training through an effective communication system. Ensuring HIPAA compliance prevents privacy issues that can impact proper revenue cycle management and helps to avoid costly financial losses.

Accurate documentation and coding

Unfortunately, as long as healthcare providers do not address the issue of front-end data validation, claim denials will continue to wreak havoc. Inaccurate patient identification and medical identity theft still remain a major contributing factor to denied claims and payment delays. However, through accurate patient identification, RightPatient enables healthcare providers to bill and code each patients’ information accurately. By ensuring accurate and clinical documentation, this platform significantly reduces inefficiencies of denials and rework, thereby strengthening revenue integrity. 

Improve hygiene and foster patient trust with RightPatient

Healthcare providers are witnessing a reduction in non-infected patient activity due to the fear of COVID-19. Visits for general check-ups or other routine procedures have decreased to the obvious financial detriment of healthcare providers. These providers need to reassure their patients that they are taking all precautionary steps to maintain hygiene and control this contagious disease. Adopting RightPatient is a sensible part of this strategy. 

RightPatient is a completely touchless biometric patient identification platform that can accurately identify patients throughout the continuum of care. After capturing a photo from a smartphone, tablet, or webcam, RightPatient instantly identifies patients and retrieves their correct medical record. By securing unauthorized access to medical records, hospitals are able to prevent medical identity theft, reduce denied claims, and duplicate records – all of which are vital to a high-performing revenue cycle. 

5 Strategies to Ensure Revenue Integrity in Healthcare
5 Strategies to Ensure Revenue Integrity in Healthcare

#1 Biometric Patient ID Platform

Superior flexibility, power & ROI

RightPatient also offers remote patient authentication, which is becoming increasingly necessary as people are maintaining social distance by staying at home and getting treatment through telehealth practices. During this process, RightPatient validates patient identities by comparing their ID (e.g. driver’s license) and selfie photos. This process can also help healthcare providers to save money on more expensive identity proofing solutions through credit agencies. 

As patient care becomes more complex, so does the management of the revenue cycle. RightPatient can help to simplify and manage the complexity by ensuring safe, ubiquitous patient authentication from various patient encounter points. Full financial recovery from this pandemic may take years, but adopting RightPatient will ensure that you are on a faster path to success.