About Debra Fryar

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

When Are Patient Registration Errors Most Likely to Occur?

A John Hopkin’s study titled: Implementing and Sustaining Improvement in Healthcarefound that an astounding 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. The John’s Hopkins study determined that inadequate emphasis was placed on the process of patient identification in the registrar training materials. Types of patient registration errors you are likely to see Patient registration errors can appear in several ways: General misidentification can lead to duplicate records in the EHR system. Patients often present with different names at different times (Robert at one time and Bob the next). This inconsistency can also lead to duplicate records or patient misidentification. Several studies have indicated that errors happen more frequently with foreign names. They found that Hispanic, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Navajo and Arabic names were more likely to be false positives in their analyses of duplicate records. The authors suggested that it was likely that ethnic names, unfamiliar to registration clerks and other hospital staff, would have increased occurrences of misspellings. Also, the fields for each person’s name consisted of a first name, middle name, and last name, which may be unsuitable in many cultures. 2016 ECRI study found that over half of patient misidentification dealt with either diagnostic procedures (36.5%)or treatment (22%). Documentation problems accounted for an additional 10%. Cost of patient registration errors Patient registration errors can lead to medical errors which are both physically harmful to the patient and financially harmful to the healthcare provider. Permanente of Southern California has over 10,000 records of people named Maria Gonzales. HIMSS has estimated that 8-14% [...]

Ways to Keep Patients Coming Back to Your Health Facility

Running a successful healthcare facility not only requires you to provide your patients with quality health care, but also to provide them with experiences that drive patient satisfaction and retention. Unfortunately, patient retention is a major concern for many health care facilities. Just one negative experience could cause your patient not to come back, and new patient acquisition is extremely difficult and costly to attract. How can your patients gain trust in your practice? Check out these tips to help create patient retention strategies which will keep patients coming back to your healthcare facility: Create a Customer Service Training Program For Your Staff A study conducted by John Hopkins found that inadequate emphasis was placed on the process for proper patient identification within the training syllabus for registration staff. Key questions to consider include: How they are greeting patients? How are they entering the data into the system? How they are verifying the patient's identify? (Are they using more than one identifier?) What standard documents are used to identify patients? Take immediate corrective actions to ensure your registration process is standardized across your organization. Updating your customer service training curriculum will help reinforce proper patient identification steps. Make Follow-up a Standard Practice Don’t wait for patients to follow-up with you. Getting feedback from your patients is essential to understanding their experience. A simple follow-up call a few days after the patient's visit can provide the patient with an opportunity to voice any questions or concerns of their visit. By following up with your patients and asking questions you can discover how they are feeling and if they: need to schedule another appointment understand the doctor's suggestions need a prescription refill have any billing questions Asking questions can shed light [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:03:45+00:00 Tuesday, November 28, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Are You Spending $20M per Year to Acquire New Patients?

Satisfied customers and unsatisfied customer all have one thing in common, they all talk, and others repeat what they say. Let’s face it, patients are customers and as healthcare professionals we have to worry not only about keeping them healthy but keeping them coming back. A Harvard Review study states that depending on what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense: you don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new patient — you just have to keep the ones you have happy. All customer oriented industries have some customer churn. In healthcare it is, called Patient Churn. That is patients who come once but do not return. This can happen for many reasons. In business in general, upwards of 70% of people who take their business elsewhere do so because they perceive an attitude of indifference. Admittedly, their perception may not have been due to a deliberate slight or discourtesy, but the result is staggering anyway. The Cost of Acquiring a New Patient The cost of acquiring a new patient can be high. Let’s say your healthcare organization is spending $2,000 for the month in marketing. These marketing efforts, produced 20 leads and converted 5 into appointments. $2,000 / 20 leads = $100 per lead. $2,000 / 5 scheduled appointments = $400 per new patient acquired. If you are a large healthcare organization with a patient churn rate of 10% annually and you see 500,000 patients annually, you could be losing as many as 50,000 patients per year. If it costs $400 to acquire a new patient, you could be spending upwards of $20M per year on marketing just to [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:01:39+00:00 Tuesday, November 7, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |0 Comments

6 Reasons to Adopt Biometric Patient Identification

Biometric patient identification is the most accurate way to positively identify a patient. Biometric patient identification comes in a variety of forms ranging from facial and voice recognition to finger prints, palm vein scans and retinal and iris scans. Each method has its pros and cons, but there is no disagreement that it is a far superior way to achieve absolute patient identity over the current methods of demographic patient identification. The reasons why biometric patient identification is superior: 1.  Increased patient safety Because you have absolute assurance that you have the right patient, you can reliably access each patient’s complete medical history. The Joint Commission’s listed improving the accuracy of patient identification as the #1 National Patient Safety Goal for hospitals in 2016. 2. Prevent duplicate medical records Because biometric patient identification absolutely identifies a patient, there is no doubt that the right patient has been selected. Duplicate errors are almost impossible to create. The average cost of correcting a duplicate error is about $100. HIMSS estimates that most hospitals have a 8%-12% duplicate error rate. A healthcare facility with 500,000 registrations a year and a 10% error rate could be spending as much as $5 million dollars a year correcting duplicate records. 3. Eliminate medical identity theft Patients can only claim one identity after enrollment. On repeat visits the patient will be identified by their biometric, preventing medical identify fraud. The Ponemon Institute has been doing surveys of medical identity theft over the past five years. They have found that it is increasing yearly in double digits. Although not all medical identity fraud is perpetrated in person, about 20% of the time it is. Biometric patient identification could eliminate in person identity theft. 4. Reduce medical billing errors The [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:59:31+00:00 Tuesday, October 17, 2017|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

3 Systems That Help You Maintain Patient Records (with a Focus on Absolute Identity)

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the different software that providers use to maintain patient records and how they impact patient identification. Some systems are built exclusively for record keeping purposes, like EHR systems, but there are other technologies that support data collection and preservation. Which of these tools (or combination of tools) is the best for advancing absolute patient identity in your medical organization? Electronic Health Records (EHR) System 2015 statistics indicate that some form of EHR system is currently used by more than 87% of all healthcare providers. Adoption rates have spiked since 2008 and the implementation of Meaningful Use legislation, and is expected to become a standard practice under the newly-implemented MACRA legislation, as well. Certified EHR systems are vetted by the government to meet several standards for recording patient health information, keeping it secure, and making it available for other care facilities who may be treating the patient. EHRs contain all of the patient’s core demographic data and clinical data, as well as tools for electronic prescribing and appointment setting. Using EHR is a good way to consistently maintain patient records and quickly access them at will, and even gives patients a way to review their own health records. Because EHR data is entered or looked up by a human, however, there is always room for identification error. Offline miscommunication at stages like the patient registration interview can lead to inaccuracies within the record, mistaken updates, or the creation of duplicate records. These errors can lead to adverse care, unnecessary treatments, or other damaging actions. Luckily, other systems can be used in tandem with EHRs to ensure accuracy. Smart Cards Medical identity bracelets can be given to the wrong [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:56:35+00:00 Tuesday, September 26, 2017|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , , |0 Comments

25 Seconds Can Save Hospitals $30 Million with Patient ID Systems

Did you know that the average hospital system has a 10% duplicate error rate and it costs about $100 to correct each error? If your healthcare facility has 500,000 registrations each year, that’s 50,000 errors and you spend about $5M correcting those errors. Did you know that the average hospital loses $17M in billing errors every year, primarily due to patient identity errors? In the Ponemon Institute’s 2016 survey, hospitals stated that an average of 35%of all denied claims were a result of inaccurate patient identification. This represented an estimated value of over $17M per year per hospital. Did you know that patient mis-identification also contributes to lost productivity for clinicians? The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 survey also stated that the average clinician wastes almost 30 minutes per shift due to patient mis-identification. This misidentification costs the average healthcare organization $900,000 per year in lost productivity. Did you know that there are over 2 million incidences of medical identity fraud every year? With 5,627 hospitals in the US, that is 355 potential incidents of medical identity fraud in each hospital. The average cost of medical identity fraud is around $13,500 per incident, which calculates to around $4.8M per year per hospital. With modern absolute patient ID techniques, there is no reason why medical identity theft still exists. Did you know that spending 25 seconds with a biometric patient id system can save you almost $30M a year? 25 seconds is all it takes for a biometric patient id system to accurately identify a registered patient, preventing duplicate registrations and the need to correct them. Patient ID systems play a critical role in helping providers reduce billing errors and collection problems associated with patient identity mistakes. Absolute patient id systems can save your healthcare organization millions [...]

What EHR Systems Are Ready to Work With Biometric Verification?

The answer is easy – all of them. Let’s face it, no matter which one you use, EHR systems are not very user friendly. A new survey of hospital executives showed that 24 percent are conducting a major EHR system upgrade and another 21 percent are replacing their EHR at one or more sites. KPMG’s recent survey of CHIME members found that at least 38 percent of CIOs are investing in EHR optimization projects this year. They plan to spend more on EHR optimization than any other area of Health IT. One of the main reasons stated for the continued need to upgrade or optimize was that hospital staff still don’t like their EHRs. When healthcare staff compliance is an issue, it’s no wonder that patient misidentification and record issues are still so prevalent in the health industry. Could there be a way to improve compliance in the short-term, without waiting for EHR vendors to revise the systems altogether? Improving EHR Usability with Biometric Verification One way to make your EHR more efficient and user friendly is to integrate it into a patient biometric verification system. This is easily done with commonly used HL7 transactions - a feature that is available in most modern Certified EHR Technologies. Why Biometrics? Using systems like palm vein scanners (or equipment that doesn’t rely strictly on biometrics, like smart card readers) takes the pressure off of healthcare staff to: Identify the correct patient Recover the appropriate system record Detect fraudulent healthcare recipients Rigorously survey the patient as a verification method In addition to improvements to process and accuracy, biometric verification also tends to take less time. For example, registering a patient with the Privasent system takes only 25 seconds on average for returning patients. [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:52:41+00:00 Saturday, August 12, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

How Health Facilities Retain More Patients with Privasent

Patient retention is a major concern for healthcare facilities, especially in major metropolitan areas where there is a lot of choice. It is more important than ever to treat your patients well and really earn their business. You want your good patients to return and to suggest you to their friends and family when someone needs a brilliant and caring physician. This involves something that many practices have forgotten altogether: customer service. Emphasizing Customer Service in Healthcare – Patient Retention Strategies Marketing: Marketing is needed to roll out new ideas and campaigns across the organization. It is difficult to retain patients that you don't have. Put your best foot forward and ensure your marketing is authentic and useful, more than directly promotional. The goal should be to position yourself as a resource in the community, and to cultivate a community of raving fans around your practice. Remember, marketing is a service. The more patients you reach, the more people you can serve. Don't think it is important? When a person successfully searches online for a practice, it results in a phone call almost 70 percent of the time. The telephone: When a patient calls to schedule an appointment, it is always best to have a real person (with a friendly tone and a smile) answer the phone. In some clinics, it may be necessary to have an automated phone system as backup, but a live person is best. The fastest way to send a patient back to Google is to make them leave a message and wait for a return call for something as simple as scheduling an appointment. Check-in and waiting: Be sure to greet everyone arriving in your office with an open-ended question, [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:51:20+00:00 Tuesday, July 25, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Checking in Without a Word: Why Patients Love Biometric Verification

Everyone has experienced going to the doctor’s office and having to fill out the same seemingly endless forms, having to provide your driver's license, your insurance card and other forms of photo ID. Imagine what it would be like to just walk into a doctor’s office or hospital, place your hand on a scanner and have the registrar greet you with a pleasant, “Good Morning Mrs. Smith, glad to see you again.” It isn’t just a dream, it can be a reality if your healthcare facility employees a biometric positive patient registrationsystem. The idea of “checking in without a word” is one of the main reasons patients love biometric verification. It is quick, easy and absolutely identifies you as the right person.  Receptionists will always know they are speaking to the right patient. By making your patients feel less stressed at the point of registration, they start out with a great first impression of your health care facility. You have demonstrated that you really care, not only about their safety, but about not having to ask them the same questions every time they visit. Misidentification at registration can be a major problem for healthcare facilities and have consequences for the patients. There are several reasons this happens and the result is the need to review all your identification documents. With biometric registration, all these concerns are eliminated because you know absolutely you are speaking to the right patient. Reasons for Patient Misidentification The 2016 National Patient Misidentification Report from the Ponemon Institute identifies that following reasons for patient misidentification: Incorrect patient identification at registration: 63 percent Time pressure when treating patients: 60 percent Insufficient employee/clinician training and awareness: 35 percent Too many duplicate medical records in system: 34 percent Registrar errors (human [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:50:13+00:00 Saturday, July 1, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |0 Comments

Understanding KPIs for Patient Retention and Satisfaction

Patient retention is a hot topic in healthcare circles these days. Patient retention is defined in the same way any successful relationship is: by having positive interactions. In business in general, upwards of 70% of people who take their business elsewhere do so because they perceive an attitude of indifference. Admittedly, their perception may not have been due to a deliberate slight or discourtesy, but the result is staggering anyway. In virtually any healthcare environment, the essential elements of interaction (improving retention and reducing attrition) are proactive steps to avoid the “indifference” message with your internal public. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs for Patient Retention) Studies have shown that it costs six or seven times more to recruit a new patient than to retain one you already have. If you are spending about $400 in marketing costs to bring on a new patient. The average annual patient churn within a healthcare system is 10%. If your facility sees 100,000 patients a year and you lose 10,000 of those patients, you could easily be spending $400,000 in marketing costs just to maintain the number of patients you have. So what leading indicators can your facility measure to analyze a patient’s risk of churn? Here are some examples: Time to complete registration Experience score with staff Annual number of visits Overall patient satisfaction score Once you’ve determined the indicators of patient churn in your facility, you can tie those back to financial KPIs which can be used to forecast churn and associated costs. For example: Patient acquisition rate Patient attrition rate Patient retention rate Cost to acquire a patient Cost to retain a patient Strategies for Enhancing Patient Retention Registration The patient experience in registration is a strong indicator of [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:48:58+00:00 Sunday, June 25, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments