About Debra Fryar

Debra Fryar is a blogger for Privasent and advocate for proper patient identification in a new age of healthcare tech.

How Patient Identity and Patient Satisfaction Work Together

In terms of how patients generate revenue for a practice, what factors are most heavily weighted? New patients are difficult and costly to attract, especially in areas without steadily growing populations. Instead, organizations rely on retaining existing patients, or encouraging them to refer friends and family members. A happy patient is a returning patient. With access to online review portals, healthcare staff has direct visibility into patient satisfaction. Physicians can be rated on sites like Healthgrades and RateMDs based on care delivered, bedside manner, attentiveness, and tons of other criteria. One researcher identified how businesses that gain just one additional star on sites like Yelp gain up to 9% in revenue. Clearly there’s a strong tie between patient satisfaction and healthcare practice growth. So if you were to focus on building patient satisfaction, where would you start? Odds are that your patient identification process is a safe bet. Simple and Easy Intake The leading identified reasons patients make healthcare visits is simply for a health check-up or routine exam. Even if they are seeking treatment for a condition, speed of service in terms of staff responsiveness and timely care delivery are always an important measure of patient satisfaction. The intake and patient registration process has a direct impact on how soon - and how effectively - patients can be served. The keys to an effective intake process lie in the precision with which patient information is gathered and the speed with which patients can be verified. Technology plays an increasing role in achieving these goals. Biometric verification and the use of smart identification cards help administrators quickly pull up the correct patient records, confirm whether any updates should be made, and send the patient on their way to complete their [...]

By | 2018-06-27T18:21:23+00:00 Tuesday, August 14, 2018|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: |0 Comments

Eliminating patient matching in your EHR

The source of the problem Accurate patient matching is foundational to your EHR but all EHRs struggle with patient matching. Accurate patient matching is 10x more challenging today due to an explosion of data and data sources. Mergers/acquisitions within hospital systems, patient engagements, advanced analytics and information exchanges have all added to the patient matching challenges. EHRs’ patient matching woes are evidenced by rising duplicate rates. In 2008, an AHIMA study identified average duplicate record rates of between 8-12%. Black Book Market Research Survey shows that in 2018, this number has reached 18%.  By 2020, these rates are expected to rise to 20%. This is in sharp contrast to the ONC mandate of a .5% match rate. The cost of the problem No matter what EHR system you use, inaccurate patient matching has huge costs. According to the 2018, Mid-Year EHR Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Black Book Market Research, every duplicate record costs health systems $1,950 per inpatient stay, costs health systems $800 per Emergency Room visit and increases duplicate tests by 30%. The 2016, National Patient Misidentification Report by the Ponemon Institute reported that inaccurate patient matching causes $17.4M in denied claims annually for the average hospital. Traditional fixes Healthcare systems spend a lot of time “fixing” duplicate and inaccurate patient records.  Traditionally, this is done by data matching. Data matching can be either deterministic or probabilistic. In probabilistic, or referential matching, several field values from a variety of sources are compared between two records and each field is assigned a weight that indicates how closely the two-field values match. The sum of the individual field weights indicates the likelihood of a match between two records. In deterministic matching, a unique identifier for each record [...]

Challenges of Transferring Data between Healthcare Institutions

Everyone hopes that if you have a medical emergency, that the hospital treating you will be able to gain immediate access to your medical records. The truth is that unless you are fortunate enough to be treated by our local hospital where you have been treated before, your medical records may not be readily available. Interoperability Interoperability refers to the ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another, even if they were developed by different manufacturers. Being able to exchange information between applications, databases, and other computer systems is crucial for the healthcare. Interoperability has to do with the capability of disparate computer and software systems to exchange and share data from a range of sources, including laboratories, clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, and medical practices. For example if a physician sends a patient to a radiology clinic for a complex fracture, the physician should be able to send the patients records to the clinic and the clinic should be able to send the results back to the patient’s physicians. However, several challenges still bar stakeholders from achieving true interoperability for optimal care delivery and improved patient health outcomes. One of the main issues is the lack of standardization in identifying individual patients.  If you can’t properly identify the patient, how can you be sure that you are transferring the right information. Master Patient Indexes Recently,  establishing an enterprise master patient index has been thought to be the answer to this problem. A recent study by Black Book Research found that hospitals without an enterprise master patient index had an average of 18% duplicate records in their EHR system. This duplication caused repeated medical care costing a reported average of $1950 per patient per [...]

The #1 Rule to Follow If You Want to Identify Patients Correctly

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Patient misidentification shouldn’t be an issue in a modern healthcare setting. With the amount of technology and data maintenance resources found in the average medical practice, how is that we lose track of patient names? And how can we stop doing it? Here’s a new rule to follow: stop relying exclusively on patient demographics. The Problem with Demographic Patient Identifiers To put it simply, there’s too much room for error when it comes demographic information. These errors come from both sides of the desk. Patients may provide too little detail, or a nickname in place of their birthname, or some other variation on their personal information. Their address may have changed, or they neglected to update other account information. Intake staff, on the other hand, can make general data entry errors like typos, or breeze over information updates when they’re in a hurry. If you’re trying to identify patients correctly, reliability and consistency are the most important components of the process. EHR implementation has helped to address those factors, but record creation in an EHR system doesn’t guard against errors like record duplication. While a single person having two records isn’t as severe as completely swapping their information for someone else’s, it still can pose severe problems for administering care. One of those records may contain notations about drug allergies, for example, while the other does not. Instead of relying on easily-bungled background information about the patient, practices should begin incorporating a more unique and consistent resource: the patients themselves. Biometrics, Possession, & Patient Identity “Using the patient as their own verification method” is kind of an odd way to phrase it, but it’s a widely accepted form of authentication. This [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:27:30+00:00 Tuesday, May 15, 2018|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: |0 Comments

State HIEs need Absolute Patient Identification to be Successful

Last month, Wyoming announced that they were establishing the Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange. It is being built to become a centralized clinical data repository for participating vendors. According to James Bush, MD, Wyoming Medicaid medical director, “Currently, providers ae struggling to coordinate care due to limited patient information. By forming the statewide HIE, we can build a community of health that will securely place comprehensive, usable data in the hands of our healthcare providers.” Data quality within the HIE The AHIMA reports that the average duplicate health record rate at a healthcare facility is between 8 and 12 percent. CHIME reports that the health record error rate is usually closer to 10 to 20 percent within a healthcare entity and it rises to 50 to 60 percent when entities exchange with each other. For an HIE to be successful, healthcare entities must make sure that they are sharing data for the right patient. Using an absolute healthcare identity system will ensure the data being shared is for the right patient. Patient identity systems that use a combination of smart card, bio-metric identification, and cloud-based security technologies to ensure accurate patient identity each time a patient receives care. Much like a modern debit card, the micro-chipped  smart cards cannot be copied without considerable resources. It also cannot be swapped or borrowed, like health insurance or social security cards. By presenting a smart card, patients quickly can prove their identity beyond a doubt at any participating facility. Building an HIE network Dr. Bush plans for the Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange to expand to offer interstate connectivity with other providers, offering the potential for greater information sharing. He hopes his HIE will become a regional HIE, including Colorado, Utah, South Dakota [...]

Medical Technology for Identification: Smart Cards for Patients

Healthcare professionals have a lot to worry about these days. They need to balance both rising healthcare costs and rising technology costs. The challenge is not only to secure the funding for new technology, but also to weigh the potential benefits of new and emerging technology against the costs. Serious consideration must be given to the consequences of technology adoption for legacy systems, life-cycle costs, and long-term technology evolution. The Smart Card Revolution Over the past few years, the use of smart cards for patients in the healthcare sector has grown significantly worldwide. Current programs focus on patient identification, which includes streamlining admissions, eliminating duplicate records, and managing payments. Healthcare organizations are implementing health-related smart cards, which support a wide variety of features and applications. The impact of health smart cards for patients can be seen in several ways. These smart cards: Improve the security and privacy of patient information Provide the facility with a secure carrier for portable medical records Reduce healthcare fraud Support new processes associated with portable medical records Provide secure access to emergency medical information Lead providers straight to the appropriate record when communication is difficult Enable compliance with government initiatives and mandates Provide a platform upon which other healthcare applications can be implemented as needed Smart Cards for Patients See Worldwide Implementation Various countries with national healthcare programs have deployed smart card systems. The largest is the German solution, which deployed over 80,000,000 smart cards for patients in Germany and Austria. German health smart cards are used to manage billing between various health insurance companies for all services received by the public. Patients also actively use healthcare smart cards in France, Italy, Australia, and Taiwan. Canada also plans to implement a [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:19:54+00:00 Tuesday, March 27, 2018|Categories: Smart Card Tech|Tags: |0 Comments

Involve These 4 People in Setting Your Patient Care Plan

Regardless of how busy the practice is, one thing is always consistent: patients need your attention. Every ailment needs a treatment that is going to help the patient heal and best meet their needs. Part of what separates a happy and fast-healing patient from the rest is having an appropriate patient care plan. Here are some of the most important people to include when setting up a care plan: Primary Care Provider Doctors have the longest history with the patient. In some care relationships, the primary doctor can remember patient details without even referring to their chart. Because they have such deep knowledge into the patient’s background, they should almost always be involved, at least for final approval of treatment. Nursing Staff or Nursing Director For inpatient care, a lot of the work is going to be executed by the nursing staff. Drug administration, regular vitals checks, and countless other activities that ensure the patient is safe and being treated appropriately. Nurses often rely on nursing care plans, which are standardized documents that help staff recognize and document nursing diagnoses. They also contain specific treatment regimens for the respective diagnoses, and are essentially the “game plan” for best relieving symptoms of the patient’s condition. As care is administered, it’s important for the assigned staff to perform proper patient verification at each stage described in the patient care plan, lest it result in a potentially devastating error. Patient Since they’re receiving the treatment, patients should be actively engaged by their care providers. They may not be able to make a clinical self-assessment, but they will have more information about their condition, personal history, and the circumstances leading to their condition than anyone else. The American Academy of [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:18:55+00:00 Tuesday, March 6, 2018|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

These Are 4 Common Causes of Patient Identity Errors to Watch Out For

Last year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found that, on average, 10 percent of a health organization’s patient records are duplicates. Why is this statistic so disturbing? It means your organization is setting itself up to lose revenue. With any percentage of duplicates, the number of patient records in your system will not match the actual number of patients you serve. This skews patient population health metrics and impacts care plan compliance and overall patient outcomes. Not only does it cause revenue problems, but the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) includes objectives for reducing duplicate records in its nationwide interoperability roadmap. This year, duplicate record rates are to be reduced from 2 percent, to 0.5 percent by 2020, and less than 0.1 percent by 2024. A John’s Hopkins study titled, “Implementing and Sustaining Improvement in Healthcare” found that 92% of patient identity errors occur at the time of the registration process. The registration process is understandably complex and requires great attention to detail. However, a busy waiting room, unfamiliar temporary staff, or inadequate workflow procedures can result in duplicate records or complete patient misidentification. Common Sources of Patient Identity Errors 1. Process flaws within an organization Many health organizations simply ask for verbal verification of name and birthday or photo identification, resources which can easily be obtained. Process flaws that allow the creation of duplicate records also pose risks to patient health. Relying on this misinformation from staff makes patient identity susceptible to human error, often enabling misidentification and medical identity theft. 2. Limited training on the importance of patient identification for new or temporary staff The John’s Hopkins study determined that inadequate emphasis was placed on the process of patient [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:16:34+00:00 Tuesday, February 13, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

4 Tips for Setting Patient Care Objectives at Your Clinic

Patient care objectives outline how a medical practice commits to the treatment of their patients and are a critical component to defining and executing a medical practice’s mission. Patient care objectives can can focus on a number of patient-facing contributors to experience, like communication, professionalism, or other pillars of success. When considering objectives that affect the quality of patient care, however, things like patient identification, security, or appropriate treatment are most important. Setting appropriate objectives and fulfilling them ensures that your practice is, above all, is a safe place for patients to receive treatment. Meeting those objectives also has longstanding impact on patient retention and volume of referrals. Therefore, clear and appropriate patient care objectives are critical to your clinic’s success. Below we’ve outlined a set of tips that will help your practice set patient care objectives in your practice. 1. Follow a “patient first” mentality. At their core, patient care objectives should be centered around the providing the best possible care for patients. While it can be tempting to focus on how enacting these objectives may impact the clinic, chasing after revenue goals ultimately ends in distraction. To achieve the best possible outcome for patients, providers, and the clinic, make sure your objectives answer one question: “Will this keep my patients safe and satisfied?” 2. Make them clear and measurable. In the business world, enterprises use a framework called SMART goals to ensure that goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, and time-bound. Patient care objectives should follow a similar framework to ensure that they are effective and enduring. Think of how you can incorporate patient satisfaction surveys to measure your success. Healthcare staff can also set up an internal audit process for ongoing checks on EHR [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:14:13+00:00 Tuesday, January 23, 2018|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Very First Step in the Patient Care Process

The very first step in the patient care process is knowing who is sitting across the desk from you. Errors Found Early in the Patient Care Process Without accurate patient identification, it is impossible to have accurate, successful patient care. It seems like patient identification is a simple thing: a patient gives you their insurance card and photo id, then you look them up in your medical record system. But accurate patient identification can be – and often is – fraught with errors for a variety of reasons. Registrars can be rushed during heavy workflow times. Patients with foreign names are often misspelled on initial entry. Patients don’t always present with the same version of their name; Robert one time, Bob the next time. In a large healthcare system, patients with common names like Maria Garcia, can literally have hundreds of patients with the same name and even the same birthdate. A study on duplicate error rates by Johns Hopkins University found that 92% of duplicate records happened at registration. Since the healthcare industry has transitioned to digital health records, patient misidentification has become a widespread problem that carries significant consequences – particularly for patient care and the hospital’s financial performance. Patient misidentification can result in medical errors, financial loss, loss in clinical productivity and a negative impact on the patient experience. A recent survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the “2016 National Patient Identification Report,” cited the following errors as very common in most healthcare facilities: Inability to find a patient’s chart or medical record (68 percent of respondents) A search or query resulting in multiple or duplicate medical records for that patient (67 percent) A patient is associated with an incorrect record because [...]