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Hospitals that Identify Patients Correctly Enjoy Several Benefits

We typically talk about grave situations – stories of patient mix-ups, healthcare data breaches, medical identity theft cases, denied claims, and more. However, this time, we will look at the more positive aspects – the additional benefits that healthcare providers who identify patients correctly enjoy. These range from preventing unwanted patient safety incidents within the premises to enhancing patient outcomes.

However, did you know that our touchless biometric patient identification platform can provide far more benefits? More on that later – let’s dive deep into the topmost benefits of ensuring proper patient identification in hospitals.

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Why hospitals must identify patients correctly 

Well, in order to understand that, first, one must understand why patient identification is such a big deal. For starters, patient identification is quite problematic in the U.S. healthcare system for several reasons. Since no effective standardized patient identifier has ever been implemented in the U.S., healthcare providers use different methods, solutions, or strategies to verify their patients, and most of them suffer from patient identification errors and the consequences that follow.

Fortunately, responsible healthcare providers don’t have to suffer from these issues because they have made patient safety their number one priority. These providers are utilizing effective solutions like RightPatient to eliminate errors by helping them identify patients correctly. 

So, what are the benefits of accurately identifying patients? 

Top benefits enjoyed by hospitals that identify patients correctly

Prevents fraudulent cases right from the start

Although wrong patient identification and medical identity theft are both crucial issues of the U.S. healthcare system, many don’t know that preventing the former can also prevent the latter.

It’s quite simple – since there’s no standardized and rigid way to identify patients accurately in most hospitals, fraudsters aren’t identified right off the bat. In fact, many medical identity theft cases remain undetected until the patient receives a shocking bill or notices anomalies with their EHRs. 

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Hospitals that identify patients correctly can prevent medical identity theft in real-time. When the fraudster comes in, proper patient identification will help officials flag them and catch them red-handed.

This is also applicable even in the case of data breaches. Even if healthcare data is breached, accurate identification will lead to fraudsters being caught in the act, preventing medical identity theft and reducing substantial expenses of rectifying medical record errors and litigation costs down the line.

Prevents expensive and dangerous medical record errors

One of the reasons why patient identification is such a mess has already been mentioned – the lack of an effective patient identifier. However, another reason is the overwhelming medical record errors that already exist in the systems. Duplicate medical records and overlays, namely, have been causing patient mix-ups, leading to the wrong patients getting transplants, incorrect treatments, and more. These duplicate medical record errors typically are created during the registration process, and both their creation and use can be eliminated if patients are identified accurately.

See, if the patient is accurately identified right from the start and the appropriate medical record is used throughout the patient’s medical care history, then duplicates and overlays can be avoided – eliminating the issues caused by them for both caregivers and patients, preserving authentic patient data. This leads to another benefit of proper patient identification.

Ensures patient data integrity

As mentioned, medical record errors, and patient misidentification in general, lead to patient data corruption. Unless patient data integrity is maintained, the information is useless for healthcare providers and quite dangerous for patients. Imagine if a patient has cancer but gets treated for heart disease – it would be catastrophic! 

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Patient data integrity failures lead to the wrong treatment plans, detrimental healthcare outcomes, readmissions, and even deaths. However, accurate patient identification ensures that the correct information is being recorded in the appropriate medical records – ensuring patient data integrity.

Enhances patient safety

By now, it should be clear that positive patient identification prevents a plethora of issues such as duplicates, patient data corruption, medical identity theft, among other things. However, identifying patients accurately also leads to better healthcare outcomes and prevents medical errors, improving patient safety in the process.

Medical errors caused by mix-ups are prevented which also reduces readmissions – improving patient outcomes. Accurate information arms healthcare providers with the relevant details about the right patient, helping them make informed decisions, something that’s not possible when patients are wrongly identified. 

Reduces denied claims

Denied claims are a huge burden for any given healthcare provider, however, most of them can be prevented with accurate patient identification. Let’s look at an example of exactly how denied claims and patient misidentification are related. 

Suppose a patient, A, comes in for a checkup and the physician recommends a follow-up, and a small surgical procedure is planned. During the first two visits, A has been identified properly and their medical record includes the proper information. However, prior to the surgery, A is misidentified and the wrong EHR is assigned. Moving forward, everything will be recorded in the wrong EHR.

Now, when it comes to receiving payment for the surgery, the hospital sends a claim to the patient’s insurance provider. However, when the insurance company detects inaccurate coding due to incorrect information, the insurance company “denies” the claim. These billing and coding errors need to be fixed which takes up a considerable amount of resources and time – creating inefficiencies.

Denied claims can cost north of $4 million for the average health system, making it extremely costly for even the largest provider. 

Positive patient identification can prevent most denied claims as they are often caused by medical record mix-ups. Moreover, this also frees up FTEs (full-time equivalents) to do their jobs properly – improving efficiency and eliminating bottlenecks. 

Improves the quality of healthcare services

Patient identification errors have been rampant for almost two decades, leading to data quality issues. As a result, this information cannot be trusted – if the data is inaccurate, then everything moving forward will also be full of issues. 

Proper patient identification ensures that the right patient is connected to their accurate medical record at all times – this itself drastically improves the quality of services they receive. For instance, they won’t get redundant lab tests, incorrect medication, or the wrong treatment plans.

All in all, patient misidentification might seem trivial to many, but if accurate patient identification is ensured, then it brings several benefits for healthcare providers, patients, insurance companies, and everyone else involved.

However, did you know that our patient ID platform, RightPatient, can do even more than everything mentioned above?

RightPatient helps healthcare providers identify patients correctly

RightPatient is the leading biometric patient identification platform that has been helping several healthcare providers protect their patients. However, the factor that sets RightPatient apart from others is that it’s entirely touchless – patients only need to look at the camera during the verification process. The platform matches the saved photo with the live one and provides the accurate EHR once a match is identified.

The fact that RightPatient is contactless is why prominent healthcare providers have chosen it. The platform improves infection control and reduces HAIs (hospital-acquired infections) as there’s no physical contact required, making it ideal in a post-pandemic world.

Caregivers such as Community Medical Centers, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, and the University Health Care System have been using RightPatient and enjoying several benefits such as preventing medical identity theft, reducing duplicates and overlays, protecting patient records, and boosting their bottom lines. Be a responsible healthcare provider now and use RightPatient to see the difference it makes.

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Preventing Medical Record Errors Improves Patient Safety

Healthcare providers in the U.S. never seem to catch a break – they’ve always faced a plethora of issues even before the pandemic. For a brief refresher, the U.S. healthcare system suffers from outrageous costs, the lack of price transparency, ancient laws that hamper healthcare outcomes, the lack of proper interoperability, medical record errors, preventable medical errors, patient safety incidents, and more.

While all of that seems like a bit too much, there are actually far more issues that regularly challenge health systems and hospitals and hold them back from providing positive patient outcomes. One such crucial but overlooked issue that hampers healthcare outcomes is medical record errors. Let’s explore how they are created, what are the consequences, and how proper patient identification can enhance the quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

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Medical record errors jeopardize healthcare outcomes in several ways

Patient safety incidents, detrimental healthcare outcomes, denied claims, patient mix-ups, and other adverse effects can be traced back to errors with medical records – the most common ones are duplicates and overlays. In fact, whenever an EHR error occurs, it typically goes undetected until an unfortunate event occurs such as the ones listed above. However, if one goes even further back, patient identification errors are likely to be the main culprit – let’s see how that happens. 

Patient misidentification leads to most medical record errors

One of the most common causes that lead to medical record discrepancies is patient misidentification, and that’s because most healthcare providers are using obsolete means to identify their patients – more on that later. Let’s take a look at how duplicates and overlays are created within EHR systems.

Duplicate record creation 

It’s quite straightforward – let’s start from the beginning. A patient comes into the hospital for a checkup, and since most hospitals suffer from patient identification problems, the EHR user is left with a difficult choice if they can’t find the accurate medical record. This happens because:

  • The patient has a common name
  • There are multiple patient records with the same characteristics
  • Searching for the right medical record is virtually impossible

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Now, the choices the EHR user has are either diving deep and painstakingly finding the accurate medical record, assigning the medical record that seems to be the “closest match”, or, just to be safe, creating an entirely new medical record. However, the latter can be catastrophic for both the patient and the hospital. Saving a discussion about the consequences for a later part, let’s see how overlays are far more damaging.

Overlays are extremely dangerous

Duplicate records are created when a patient has multiple medical records. Overlays, however, are single medical records that contain information about multiple patients – clearly, these medical record errors can be very dangerous.

Let’s continue from the previous example – the EHR user selected a medical record that best matched the patient (X), but it actually belongs to a different patient (Y). When patient X has their medical checkup, their health information is recorded into patient Y’s medical record, rendering it corrupt, unusable, and dangerous. Next time, when either patient returns for medical treatment, they’ll be facing detrimental healthcare outcomes because the data in their medical record is unreliable.

Moreover, with the growing adoption of EHR systems, these issues are becoming far more common. In fact, according to AHIMA, smaller hospitals have around 5-10% of these duplicate medical records whereas larger health systems can have a whopping 20%. These errors can cause around $40 million in unnecessary costs in clean-ups, litigation costs, and others.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with these duplicates and overlays is that, as previously mentioned, they remain undetected until an adverse event occurs. The best way to resolve medical record errors is by preventing them right from the start – accurate patient identification can help with that. 

RightPatient prevents duplicates and overlays

RightPatient has been helping responsible healthcare providers accurately identify patients at any touchpoint with its robust biometric patient identification platform. It can be seamlessly integrated with any EHR system and it becomes a part of the EHR workflow. 

Patients only need to look at the camera – the platform automatically locates the accurate medical record for the EHR user, making it a seamless, safe, and hygienic experience for everyone involved. It has been helping reputed caregivers like Grady health, TGMC, and Community Medical Centers prevent duplicate record creation, ensure patient safety, and boost the bottom line.

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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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Improving Healthcare Outcomes with 4 Strategies

COVID-19 has the U.S. healthcare system sweating through probably the most volatile phase in its history. Hospitals are opening up their doors and gradually receiving patients as things are getting much better with the distribution of vaccines. However, the danger of underlying issues that have plagued the healthcare system for decades still remains. Despite these problems, the burden of hospitals providing immaculate healthcare services is still there. That being said, here are some of the practices that can help hospitals with improving healthcare outcomes and reducing their issues.

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Improving healthcare outcomes is a major priority currently

Administering proper care at the proper time and the avoidance of patient safety incidents is a major objective of hospitals. Thus, hospitals are under pressure to implement relevant strategies and solutions that will enhance their effectiveness. This includes partnering with other care providers to protect patient data integrity. While implementing some of these strategies can be pretty expensive, they do help with improving healthcare outcomes – here are some of the most important ones:

Ensuring efficient collaboration with the patients’ care providers

The right kind of collaboration is important in healthcare nowadays and CMS has established new conditions that require caregivers to work together. It has upped the ante on the degree of seriousness of it all.

So, what is the correlation between collaboration and patient outcomes? How does it work to improve healthcare outcomes?

Before terms such as interoperability and collaboration existed, people often were loyal to a single healthcare facility. This has changed, especially with data sharing, EHRs, and interoperability – patients are now free to visit multiple caregivers for treatments to their various conditions and ailments. There might be an interrelation between patients’ conditions and this provides ground for caregivers to associate to ensure that they obtain all the necessary data and up-to-date information that will enable them to make the best decisions with regards to handling the patient and thus improving healthcare outcomes.

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A hospital that is open to collaboration and the implementation of required strategies and relevant solutions will go a long way in helping to improve patient outcomes. The CMS requirements mandate that caregivers support sending and receiving electronic notifications during ADT events that provide updated information about a patient’s condition. RightPatient is a useful tool that caregivers can use to ensure the proper identification of patients and prevent false alerts – more on that later.

Ensuring patient data integrity

The integrity of patient data is often overlooked when it comes to its effects on healthcare outcomes but it is crucial nonetheless. Inadequate positive patient identification can ultimately affect the integrity of patient data. This occurs when a patient is treated with the medical record of another patient or the data gets corrupted in the EHR as the wrong information gets saved in it. When the actual patient comes in for treatment, he gets the wrong administration due to inaccurate information. Thus, medical errors arise, leading to incorrect treatment plans, wrong medication, and more, which lead to negative healthcare outcomes.

Impersonation by a fraudster can also lead to the compromise of patient data integrity – it occurs during medical identity theft. This case is similar to patient misidentification, the only difference might just be that the impersonator does it deliberately. The fraudster receiving the treatment then gets his/her information added into the victim’s EHR thus corrupting patient data. If this passes on undetected, the victim could end up undergoing the wrong treatment procedure.

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Therefore, a patient’s data has to be protected against tampering to further improve the healthcare outcome of the patients due to the reception of the proper treatment on schedule. 

Avoiding preventable medical errors

The focus has also shifted to limiting the occurrence of otherwise avoidable medical errors. The statistics behind such errors are quite alarming. These are common as a result of technical errors, medication errors, medical record mix-ups, wrong information, and so on. Poor patient identification is also responsible for most of the preventable medical errors. Thus, if patients can be accurately identified, then it will significantly improve patient outcomes. 

Preventing patient misidentification

The common problem in all the scenarios above is patient identification errors. It causes a huge problem for hospitals and health systems in general as discussed earlier. With patient misidentification, patient safety can be jeopardized with false alerts rampant during collaboration with other caregivers, sharing corrupted patient information, and the consequence is medical error. The bottom line is that misidentification can affect healthcare outcomes and it can even lead to the death of patients. 

Fortunately, accurate patient identification with RightPatient can help improve healthcare outcomes. 

RightPatient has been helping improve patient safety

RightPatient, with its touchless biometric patient identification platform, has become the top choice for several healthcare providers. It has helped them to enhance patient safety, improve patient healthcare outcomes, and reduce the occurrence of medical errors. The benefits are numerous for both patients and caregivers and this includes safety – it is contactless and perfect for use in a post-pandemic world.

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Hospitals Might Lose $122B – Can a Robust Patient Identification System Help?

Healthcare providers in every nook and cranny of the world have had their hands full with COVID-19 dealing damage everywhere. The US was not left out as its healthcare system could not cope with the unexpected events that persisted when the virus hit hard. The loss incurred in 2020 was massive for healthcare providers and difficult decisions had to be made. Unfortunately, the year 2021 doesn’t look like much of an improvement. The Kauffman Hall report suggested that healthcare providers could end up losing as much as $122 billion in 2021 in the worst-case scenario. On the less pessimistic side, they will lose up to $53 billion, which is still a significant amount. That being said, we need to look in-depth at how the impact could be reduced significantly and how the administration of an effective patient identification system can reduce significant losses.

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Loss is inevitable for most healthcare providers in 2021

The major difference between 2020 and 2021 is that now people are getting treated with vaccines against the devastation that was the theme of the previous year. Most hospitals have opened up and there is a gradual decrease in the amount of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals will, however, have to settle for a loss of about 10%, which is still considered a pretty serious loss by experts.

Patient identification errors are still plaguing health systems and, even before the pandemic, there had been huge losses for caregivers. But not all of them were suffering from the losses.

NYU Langone Health, Baylor Scott & White Health, the Mayo Clinic, and some others are just some of the large hospitals that benefited from a bout of federal healthcare bailout grants. Baylor Scott & White, in particular, earned profits in 2020. Many others didn’t come off with such luck as they had to shut their doors permanently, lay off most of their workers, introduce pay cuts, and furlough employees. The losses have further extended into 2021 and it could persist into 2022. The focus must. however. be shifted to existing problems – ensuring positive patient identification is one of them.

How an effective patient identification system helps reduce losses

The major strategy which healthcare providers are using to mitigate losses is by cutting expenses. Reducing the workforce shouldn’t be a priority as they could focus on solving problems associated with patient safety problems, medical records mix-up, duplicate medical records, patient outcomes, denied claims, preventable medical errors – the list goes on. The cord that connects them all is patient identification errors. 

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Poor identification of patients will cause hospitals to administer wrong treatments that often result in patient safety incidents, harmful patient outcomes, readmissions, etc. There is a consequential ripple effect of patient misidentification on hospitals and patients alike. These effects can be too heavy and costly on either side. Preventable medical errors, denied claims, litigation costs, and fixing duplicate medical records can lead to massive losses for any healthcare provider. An effective patient identification system must be adopted by hospitals – RightPatient is the best fit for the task.

RightPatient is the leading patient identification system

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that solves the problems plaguing healthcare providers and patients nowadays. It is just what we all need in this post-pandemic era. It is easy to use and hygienic for both caregivers and patients due to its touchless nature. RightPatient can help to prevent losses in millions by preventing patient misidentification, medical identity theft, denied claims, duplicate medical errors, etc. It is a must-have for responsible healthcare providers to reduce losses and enhance positive patient outcomes.

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Preventing Wrong Patient Errors Can Mitigate Hospitals’ Losses During the Pandemic

The US healthcare system has been facing one of its worst periods in decades due to the pandemic. Not only does the US have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, but because of this – as well as the cancellation of elective procedures, regular appointments, etc. – its healthcare system is also facing unprecedented financial strain. AHA has estimated that $323 billion will be lost this year – can you believe that? In order to cope with this financial strain, providers are having to lay off employees, close down facilities, introduce furloughing, and some are even shutting their doors permanently. But are these cost-cutting strategies enough, or should providers also look into improving other areas that can help mitigate losses, such as reducing wrong patient errors? Let’s explore some of the recent losses incurred by hospitals, how some of them are trying to cope with it, and how upgrading the patient identity verification process can significantly reduce costs.

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Consequences hospitals are facing due to the pandemic

M Health Fairview will lay off 900 and more

The health system stated that 16 of its 56 clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin will be closed, it will shut the doors of its 90-bed Bethesda Rehabilitation Hospital, and will also reduce some of the services it offered at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Moreover, neurology and bariatrics, as well as other specialties, will be moved to other facilities, and it will also close the doors of St. Joseph’s ED at the end of 2020. All of this is being done to cope with the financial losses that the pandemic introduced – around $250 million – leading to the layoff of 900 employees.

Saint Luke’s Health System will close 2 hospitals

Missouri’s Saint Luke’s Health System has made the hard decision to close down two of its community hospitals at the end of this year. While it has been reported that it’s being done to streamline services, these hospitals have seen lower patient volumes – a direct result of the pandemic. They’ve also stated that the hospitals are being closed to help deal with the pandemic more efficiently. 

Wellforce laid off 232 employees

Wellforce, located in Massachusetts, laid off 232 employees due to the losses caused by the pandemic. Quite naturally, some of its facilities faced huge reductions in patient volume, leading to an operating loss of around $32 million. Prior to that, the health system had opted for furloughing over 700 employees and introduced pay cuts for others. It even subsequently culled many of the affected employees, ultimately laying off 232 of them.

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Why these techniques might not work

While healthcare providers are doing everything they can to offset the losses caused by the pandemic, it’s clear that strategies like pay cuts, furloughs, or laying off employees will not be enough, and may have undesirable consequences for the future.

For instance, when potential employees see that a hospital is laying off its employees, they’ll lose faith in it and apply at other workplaces. As a result, hospitals will lose out on talented individuals. Many are even laying off their topmost officials – it might be hard to find someone else to fill that position when the candidates see what happened to their predecessor!

Moreover, even after implementing such cost-cutting strategies, many are still having to resort to others as well – look at Wellforce, for instance. While these strategies might reduce costs, what about reducing costs by eliminating other financially significant issues, such as wrong-patient errors?

Preventing wrong patient errors can reduce more costs than you think

Patient identification errors have always been a huge issue within the US healthcare system. Especially during the pandemic, it is now causing more errors than ever – wrong patient data, mix-ups, and inaccurate healthcare outcomes are some of the unfortunate consequences.

Incorrectly identified patients lead to more duplicate records, preventable medical errors, litigation costs, denied claims, and more – all of these cause hospitals to lose a lot of money. Moreover, if caregivers don’t have an effective patient identifier in place medical identity theft cannot be detected in real-time, which leads to significant costs down the line. 

Looking to the future, healthcare providers will need to ensure CMS (Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services) compliance by supporting e-notifications by May of 2021. If the facilities are suffering from wrong-patient errors, the caregivers will lose out on CMS reimbursements in the future.

It’s quite clear that preventing patient identification errors is a feasible strategy to reduce costs, but how should caregivers do so?

RightPatient effectively prevents wrong patient errors

RightPatient has been the touchless patient identification platform of choice for several caregivers. By confirming patients’ identities using their photos, RightPatient ensures that all the issues associated with patient misidentification are eliminated. Even medical identity theft can be prevented – fraudsters are flagged when they face its verification process, reducing significant costs for providers and enhancing patient safety.

Contact us now to learn how we can help mitigate your losses and ensure accurate patient identification across the care continuum.

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Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Can be Achieved with Positive Patient Identification

Among the several issues faced by the US healthcare system, one of the more prominent is patient misidentification. We know this to be true because even during the coronavirus pandemic, experts have stated that patient matching issues were continuing. Moreover, coalitions were formed to demand the fabled “unique patient identifier” once again. But why do healthcare providers demand patient identifiers time and again? Let’s take a look at some statistics that show how serious the issue is, some consequences caused by the absence of effective patient identification, and how patient safety and quality improvement are related to it.

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Patient identification issues are nothing new

The last decade has been a transition towards technology for the US healthcare system. Caregivers such as physician practices, hospitals, and health systems have made the jump from traditional paper medical records towards the more standard electronic health records (EHRs). However, as they did so, they saw the issues that occurred due to the absence of an effective patient identifier nationwide. One of the biggest challenges is matching patients to their accurate medical record whenever they arrive for healthcare services. Let’s review some recent statistics about how common misidentifications are. 

Some stats to back it up

According to a study conducted by eHealth Initiative, approximately 38% of the respondents have suffered from an unwanted event caused by patient misidentification within the last 2 years. Many of these events are caused by duplicate medical records, and an overwhelming 66% of the respondents blame data entry errors that lead to duplicates. Moreover, 80% of the providers have dedicated FTEs (full-time employees) or third-party contractors to solve these issues. The biggest barriers to reducing poor patient matching were the lack of prioritization and the lack of technology. 32% of the caregivers stated that they had around 3-10% duplicates within their EHR systems. All of these statistics show that patient misidentification is growing and needs to be addressed by caregivers. Fortunately, many hospitals and health systems are already using touchless patient identification platforms like RightPatient to solve these issues, but more on that later. Let’s see how patient misidentification is a barrier to patient safety and quality improvement.

Patient misidentification hampers patient safety and quality improvement

While patient misidentification causes a lot of problems for any given caregiver and patient, let’s take a look at how it impacts patient safety, and in turn, healthcare quality.

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Patient misidentification is closely related to duplicate medical records

Duplicates can lead to patient misidentification and vice versa. For instance, if a patient comes in and provides their nickname instead of the name on the medical record, the registrar won’t be able to accurately identify the medical record. Thus, after failing to find the record, a new one gets created, leading to another duplicate record within the EHR system.

Likewise, if there are many duplicates within the system against the same patient, there are high chances that all of them have incomplete and inconsistent information. This will lead to matching the patient to the improper medical record. Both of these scenarios will lead to incorrect procedures, adversely impacting patient safety.

Patient misidentification hampers patient data integrity

As previously stated, data entry errors are quite common during registration. Thus, if patients are associated with the wrong medical record, they will be treated based on someone else’s medical history, illnesses, allergies, and so on. One single pill can severely impact the patient’s health – one can imagine what would happen if the whole procedure was wrong! Such cases have led to delayed care, repeated lab tests, and compromised patient safety.

Patient misidentification leads to medical errors

Quite closely tied with the previous point, patient safety and quality improvement cannot be achieved if medical errors keep occurring. While medical errors happen for a variety of reasons, many are preventable, and as stated previously, 38% of the healthcare providers surveyed reported that they suffered from medical errors tied to patient misidentification. These errors could have easily been prevented had the caregivers used robust patient identity matching solutions.

Patient safety and quality improvement is achievable with RightPatient

Leading healthcare providers such as Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Terrebonne General Medical Center, Community Medical Centers, among others, have been using RightPatient and improving patient safety and quality of care. As the healthcare industry’s leading touchless patient identification platform, RightPatient has years of experience helping hospitals and health systems identify patients’ accurate medical records across the continuum of care. The platform uses patients’ photos to identify their accurate medical records, prevent medical identity theft, avoid duplicate records, and prevent medical errors – enhancing patient safety and ensuring a hygienic environment that will be crucial in a post-pandemic world.

Contact us right away to learn how we can help you achieve your goals.

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Patient Matching and Interoperability Are Ineffective Without Positive Patient Identification

The U.S. healthcare system has been inundated with several issues even before the pandemic. The lack of price transparency, medical identity theft, duplicate medical records, high costs, medical errors, and patient safety issues are just some of the issues plaguing providers. However, today’s focus is on another problem – the lack of interoperability. Many providers are thinking that interoperability will get a significant boost due to changes such as the 21st Century Cures Act and the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule. While that might be true, many are overlooking the fact that it needs a particular component to work immaculately – patient matching. While some might believe that it is just a cog in the wheel, everything in healthcare heavily relies on accurate patient identification – without it, everything will go wrong.

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Let’s take a closer look at the rules, how they will boost interoperability, and why patient identification is crucial for interoperability to work.

The 21st Century Cures Act and Patient Matching

What it means

Several healthcare experts are quite content with the Cures Act, believing that it will usher in the era of true interoperability. In a nutshell, the implementation of certain provisions within the act will enhance interoperability and also support accessing, exchanging, and using electronic health information. What all this means is that patient data can be easily shared among caregivers, leading to better, more personalized care, as well as enhanced healthcare outcomes – but that’s only one side of the coin.

Interoperability requires more than the Cures Act

While the Act is a step in the right direction, interoperability won’t be successful solely because of it – other factors need to be considered. The most important factor is patient matching.

Imagine a scenario where a healthcare provider is abiding with the Act and has taken all the necessary measures to do so. However, due to issues like patient misidentification or duplicate medical records, matching patients to their proper EHRs will become nearly impossible. As a result, the wrong medical record will be sent to the wrong caregiver – jeopardizing patient safety and adversely affecting coordinated care efforts along the way. Thus, proper patient matching is an absolute must to make sure that the patient data exchanges are successful and error-free. Healthcare providers can do so by ensuring accurate patient identification across the care continuum by using solutions like RightPatient – more on that later.

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The Interoperability & Patient Access Final Rule

We’ve already talked at length about this rule and how it will enhance interoperability as well. In a nutshell, healthcare providers using EHR or EMR systems need to enable e-notifications support so that they can receive and send out real-time notifications during ADT (admission, discharge, and transfer) events with the patients’ other caregivers. While this rule has been established to boost interoperability and coordinated care efforts, this also requires proper patient matching. If a patient is misidentified, the caregiver will send out false alerts, jeopardizing the care coordination efforts. It will also put the provider’s CMS reimbursements at risk.

Thus, patient identity matching must be accurate at all times, if the providers want to ensure CMS compliance and abide by the 21st Century Cures Act. This is where RightPatient can help caregivers ensure accurate patient identification – and more.

RightPatient can improve patient matching 

RightPatient has years of experience with reputed healthcare providers such as Terrebonne General Medical Center, Community Medical Centers, and University Medical Center. It is a touchless patient identification platform that identifies patients with the element that cannot be copied or stolen – their face. Right from appointment scheduling, the platform ensures remote patient authentication – patients are asked for a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license. RightPatient matches the photos and ensures that patients are identified accurately – ensuring positive patient identification.

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Telehealth Is Here to Stay – Ensure Patient Data Integrity While Using It

To put it bluntly, the coronavirus pandemic has been catastrophic for the entire world. The U.S. has been leading with the highest number of cases – 6,550,637 at this point. However, there has been a silver lining in the whole coronavirus pandemic – telehealth. Not only did it experience a meteoric rise in the U.S., but it also helped to flatten the curve – patients don’t have any risk of contracting the virus when they use telehealth. While the increased usage of telehealth demonstrates that it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future, healthcare providers must ensure that they are protecting patient data integrity during these visits. Let’s see how accurate patient identification can help.

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Telehealth’s rise

Telehealth isn’t anything new – it’s been in the healthcare space for quite some time now. Sadly, people were busy debating its pros and cons for years. However, 2020 will be remembered as the year of telehealth – its potential was showcased during the pandemic.

People praised its elimination of the physical barriers required for healthcare – people would be able to consult with their caregivers without having to worry about the novel coronavirus – a stable internet connection and a communication device are all they need. It enabled healthcare services to be continued at a time when social distancing was required – creating a win-win situation for all. Laws were relaxed regarding telehealth while providers and officials urged patients to use telehealth instead of coming for hospital visits. Quite naturally, the usage increased exponentially. Let’s take a look at an example – MUSC Health and its experience with telehealth. 

They used “virtual urgent care technology” – something that was initially created to provide patients with a way to be observed for non-critical cases, and converted that to screen potential COVID-19 patients. Moreover, they had the capabilities and resources to dramatically adapt tools to better fight the pandemic. They also enabled remote patient monitoring and a telesitter program as part of their approach, and they believe that telehealth is here to stay. Overall, healthcare providers in the past few months have observed that telehealth can be used to provide patient care while mitigating the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Some stats regarding telehealth usage

The current stats are in line with the providers’ experiences with telehealth. McKinsey & Company stated that in 2019, a meager 11% of the U.S. patients were using telehealth. As of April 2020, 46% of the patients are using telehealth. Even healthcare providers witnessed around 50-175 times more patients using telehealth visits compared to the pre-pandemic period. However, one has to consider the risks associated with it just like with inpatient visits, for instance, patient data integrity, patient identification, and medical identity theft. 

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Patient data integrity must be ensured

It’s quite natural that some of the issues plaguing conventional healthcare might be seen during telehealth visits as well. One of the biggest challenges is preventing medical identity theft. 

Healthcare data breaches have been occurring more than ever, where most of the stolen patient data is sold off to fraudsters. They then assume the identities of the victims and use their healthcare services. This leads not only to billing the victims for services they never used but also corrupts the patient data – because the fraudsters’ data is saved in the victims’ medical records. Thus, patient data integrity is compromised in the process.

Experts believe that the pandemic will lead to increased numbers of medical identity theft cases. This is because patient data is not adequately protected by the majority of caregivers due to budgetary issues. Moreover, with the pandemic causing arguably the worst financial crisis healthcare has ever faced, providers need to consider every option in order to survive.

RightPatient ensures patient data integrity – even during telehealth visits

While healthcare data breaches are inevitable, medical identity theft can be prevented. One of the reasons why medical identity theft has become a major threat is because there is no proper patient identity verification system in place to prevent these crimes. Most of the patient identification systems use credentials – something that can be stolen or transferred. 

Fortunately, RightPatient can help prevent medical identity theft. It uses the thing that fraudsters or hackers cannot steal – patients’ visual likeness. Using a photo-based search engine, RightPatient matches the photos of the selfie provided during appointment scheduling with the patient’s driver’s license. Fraudsters are red-flagged immediately, preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

During inpatient visits, all the patients need to do is look at the camera – the platform matches the photo it takes with the one it saved during registration. This creates a safe, hygienic, and touchless environment for everyone involved – something which became more crucial than ever due to the pandemic.

RightPatient helps maintain patient data integrity by ensuring that the accurate medical record is associated with the correct patient every time, preventing medical identity theft, and avoiding duplicate medical records. Try RightPatient now to see how it can help you enhance patient safety during these trying times.

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CMS Compliance Requires Identifying Patients Correctly – Are you Ensuring it? 

From the title, it is quite clear what this is about. The changes made to the Medicare CoPs (conditions of participation) have attracted attention within the US healthcare system, especially after the introduction of mandatory e-notifications during every ADT (admission, discharge, or transfer) of a patient. While providers are more focused on e-notifications, most of them forget about one very important prerequisite: identifying patients correctly. While we have already touched upon the topic regarding CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interoperability & Patient Access Final Rule, this time, we will focus more on the practical aspects and how patient identification is a crucial component that is absolutely necessary for e-notifications to work properly as well as CMS compliance. Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into the topic at hand.

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A brief refresher

A few changes have been made regarding the CMS Interoperability & Patient Access Final Rule. As the name suggests, it has been done to boost interoperability efforts within the caregivers of the patients. Let us look at why it is required within the healthcare system.

There are many cases where a patient is not restricted to a single healthcare provider;  especially if they have complications, multiple ailments and so on. Such patients need to visit and consult with multiple healthcare providers in order to receive the best patient care. For this to be effective, caregivers need to have access to the patient’s medical record, history, medications, vitals and other necessary information. In order to make the caregiving process seamless and boost interoperability, the Final Rule was introduced.

The “companion final rule” states that e-notifications must be sent out by healthcare providers (such as acute care, psychiatric, critical access providers, etc.) during every ADT to the appropriate recipients, i.e., the other caregivers (post-acute providers & suppliers, established primary care practitioners, or any other entity primarily responsible for the patient’s care). This rule applies to inpatient admissions as well as ED admissions. 

Who needs to ensure it?

Applicable healthcare providers are those who use digital medical records like EMR or EHR systems. They need to ensure compliance and have proper systems set up by May 1, 2021 so that they can send out e-notifications during ADTs. 

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While that’s a succinct summary of the most recent change in the CoPs, every healthcare provider needs to ensure that they are sending out e-notifications. Otherwise, they can face undesirable consequences such as receiving penalties for non-compliance, or worse, jeopardizing their CMS provider agreements. But how is identifying patients correctly related to CMS compliance regarding e-notifications?

Identifying patients correctly is required for CMS compliance

As previously mentioned, the CMS rule requires healthcare providers to send out notifications during ADTs. But there’s a catch.

Identifying patients correctly is quite important for e-notifications to work. Think about it: if a patient is not accurately recognized or is misidentified as a different patient, the healthcare provider risks sending alerts to the wrong caregivers. Worst of all, the provider risks that they won’t be able to answer alerts other caregivers are requesting.

Without a reliable way to identify patients, things can escalate quickly. If a provider cannot fulfill alert requests or sends too many incorrect alerts, care coordination teams will start to lose faith and miss opportunities to improve patient outcomes. Noncompliance will also incur CMS penalties, which can result in hefty fines. After COVID-19, nobody can afford such costs.

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While healthcare providers are busying themselves by deciding how to best implement e-notifications, they should also assess the effectiveness of their patient identity matching systems. Clearly, the former is dependent on the latter. Those who are struggling with patient identification need to upgrade their systems to futureproof, easy-to-use and hygienic ones. 

RightPatient helps identify patients correctly

We ensure that patients are always identified correctly with our industry-leading touchless biometric patient identification platform.

How it works

After making an appointment, patients receive an SMS or email to validate their identity. During this process, the patient takes a photo of their driver’s license and a selfie. RightPatient automatically matches the selfie photo with the photo on the driver’s license to ensure a proper identity match. If the patient is not already in the system, RightPatient assigns biometric credentials to the new patient.

This is how we prevent patients from registering under a different identity or medical record mix-ups. There’s no need to worry about name changes, mistakes when entering a patient’s name or other common issues. Patients are recognized with their selfies.

We have been helping prominent health systems like TGMC, CMC and CHSLI fight the battle against patient misidentification for years. With RightPatient, responsible healthcare providers can send e-notifications and comply with CMS without worrying about faulty alerts.

If we haven’t convinced you by now, why don’t you try our free trial? No gimmicks – it’s really free!