About Debra Fryar

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

Meeting Health IT Standards for Patient Misidentification

Government agencies establish industry-wide standards for best practices in healthcare. With the ubiquitous use of EHR systems and other digitally-accessible record software, it’s important to align staff members and make preserving patient data integrity a priority. The first thing that practices often notice about following these standards, however, is that it takes a lot of work and process changes to be effective. The good news is that there are additional technologies that make implementing those standards easier. Patient identification systems reduce the work and vigilance required from clinical staff while also improving the usability of EHR. Consider the Privasent Absolute Identity solution, which pairs two methods of positive patient identification with your EHR system to maximize security and convenience at the same time. The first component of Privasent is a palm vein scanner, which leverages a patient’s biometrics to recover their health record. The second component is an encrypted smart card, which is assigned to the patient upon their initial entry into the system. From that point on, the smart card can conveniently be presented at any participating facility within their provider network. It makes registration faster and also guarantees the correct record will be retrieved from the EHR system. Both of these technologies make patient record entry more accurate and reduce duplication errors, which aligns with the same initiatives set forth by HealthIT.gov. Government-Recommended Practices for Eliminating Patient Misidentification HealthIT.gov created the SAFER guide (Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience) to help medical practices emphasize patient safety through data entry. The guide provides recommendations that, when implemented, prevent patient record duplication and inaccuracies when logging clinical information. To review the recommendations, view the Self Assessment PDF or take a look at the summary we’ve provided below. 1. Build a Master Patient [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:45:39+00:00 Tuesday, April 4, 2017|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

How Providers Can Help Eliminate Medical Identity Fraud

Per the Ponemon Institute, medical identity fraud occurs when someone uses an individual’s name and personal identity to fraudulently receive medical service, prescription drugs, and goods. It also includes attempts to commit fraudulent billing. Based on the Ponemon Institute 2013 study, an estimated 1.84 million adult-aged Americans or close family members at some point in time became victims of medical identity fraud. An estimated 2.3 million individuals were impacted by medical identity theft in 2014, a 21.7% increase over the numbers from 2013. Medical identity fraud is continuing to increase every year. How would I know if a patient has become a victim? Per the Federal Trade Commission, victims may: Get a bill for medical services they didn’t receive Be contacted by a debt collector about medical debt they don’t owe See medical collection notices on their credit report that they don’t recognize Find erroneous listings of office visits or treatments on their explanation of benefits (EOB) Be told by their health plan that they’ve reached their limit on benefits Be denied insurance because their medical records show a condition they don’t have Impact of Medical Identity Fraud on Patients Medical identity fraud can have severe and long lasting effects on patients. Here are some anecdotal examples of the consequences of medical identity fraud: A retired postal worker from Houston was arrested for purchasing over 1700 opioid drugs after her wallet containing her driver’s license and health insurance card was stolen at a gas station. Fortunately, she had reported the theft to the police and had a police report. In Utah, a pregnant woman stole a medical identity to gain medical care. When the baby was born with drugs in its system, the department of social [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:44:32+00:00 Wednesday, March 15, 2017|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

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. [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:42:31+00:00 Tuesday, February 28, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Malta Systems Receives Patent for Key Privasent Healthcare Technology

Malta Systems, a healthcare technology company focused on unique, absolute, and interoperable healthcare identity, announced the approval of their patent titled, "Anonymous authentication using backup biometric information," US patent number 9,213,818. Malta Systems’ CEO, Don Brown is pleased with the approval of the patent. “By implementing Privasent’s patented technology, providers have an identity foundation necessary to link patient EHRs precisely throughout the continuum of care — regardless of where that care is provided — and improve both patient satisfaction and care. With the patient as the focal point, hospital clinical, financial, medical records and technology teams can work with the Malta team to demonstrate the clinical and financial benefits of absolute healthcare identity,” Brown said. Privasent’s patented solution combines smart card, biometric and security technologies to produce a unique, absolute and interoperable identity that can scale to a national patient identifier. This unique identity can only be used to access healthcare services thus protecting the patient’s privacy and identity integrity. Patients are registered in the Privasent network with the issuance of a Privasent card and the capture of a palm-vein pattern. Each time a patient checks-in for care, Privasent validates their identity and the electronic health record (EHR) associated with the identity. Healthcare providers can search Privasent to identify other EHRs associated with this identity throughout Privasent’s network of providers and determine which must be accessed to provide relevant medical history for the patient’s care. The awarded patent covers managing the use of such a physical token — in this case a smartcard — together with a biometric identifier — here, a simple palm-vein scan — to uniquely and quickly identify every patient. The newly awarded patent is essential to helping Malta Systems provide absolute [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:37:51+00:00 Thursday, February 2, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Deliver a Stellar Patient Care Experience

From the start of an appointment to the finish (and sometimes beyond), enhancing the patient care experience should be one of your organization’s top objectives. When patients are satisfied with the attention they receive in a clinical setting, they’re more likely to keep coming back. Consumer research indicates that businesses who have satisfied customers can see a 9% increase in revenue on average. Since patients and consumers are really the same people, it’s safe to say that hospitals and healthcare facilities can achieve those same results. The question that we want to answer, then, is how exactly can we deliver those strong patient care experiences? How Patients Evaluate Their Care Experiences According to the Journal of Participatory Medicine, patients ranked the following criteria as most important to their healthcare experiences: Having a doctor who is caring and compassionate Having convenient and quick access to health care Having pleasant interactions with other staff in the doctor’s office The majority of patients cite interactions with their doctor as a strong indicator of a positive patient care experience. Most of the interactions with other staff happen at a point of transfer of care, like intake or transfer to another department. At any of these points, there are some best practices to keep in mind in order to satisfy the patient. Best Practices for Improving the Patient Care Experience Clinical staff can improve their patient care experiences by exhibiting a couple of key behaviors in the exam room. Exam Room Interaction Dr. Nabil Ebraheim and Molly Ebraheim put together a presentation of how important it is to make a good first impression on patients. In fact, they argue that how doctors behave in the first ten seconds of an appointment can set the tone for the [...]

By | 2017-10-25T17:31:47+00:00 Wednesday, January 25, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

Maintaining Patient Loyalty in the Age of Consumerism

For years, health insurers have sold their plans almost exclusively to employers. Today, only 48 percent of healthcare payer customers get their insurance from their employer. Healthcare consumers are now directly paying for more of their healthcare costs, both for the care itself and insurance coverage. Consumers have a growing number of choices on both the payer and the provider side. Increasing transparency is making it much easier for them to effectively comparison shop. Relatively undifferentiated product offerings for newly empowered customers will be forced to compete primarily on price and face very low barriers to customer turnover. As out-of-pocket costs rise, consumers expect an experience that is comparable to what they get in other sectors. Health plans and providers understand that they cannot afford to ignore this trend and must embrace it or be left behind. Marketing is needed to rolling out new ideas and campaigns across the organization, but supporting cross-functional technical change is an area of leadership for CIOs who are accustomed to building new skills across geographic areas and technical processes. CMOs understand changing customer needs and the opportunity that creates to boost sales, but the CIO is the only one who can bring those new solutions and modes of commerce and customer interaction to market for the company. Neither technology nor marketing changes alone can effectively address these challenges. We believe that technology will be the catalyst for true differentiation and brand loyalty. The simpler the process, the more likely the customer will buy and repurchase. Adding innovative technologies like biometric patient identity, combined with a smartcard, can be seen not only a clear differentiator but relays to the healthcare consumer that their safety is a top priority of the [...]

Merging Patient Loyalty Programs and Patient Identity

The Affordable Care Act has put new emphasis on preventing chronic conditions—which account for more than 80% of U.S. healthcare costs—rather than treating them after the fact, which is something the provider network wanted to address. A few innovative hospitals around the country have begun to offer patient loyalty programs to encourage patient to get regular preventative-care check-ups and screenings. As patients check in for these visits, their card is swiped and they accrue points for future perks. These loyalty programs can provide patients with perks like valet parking, 10% off in the hospital cafeteria or discounts on non-prescription drugs at the pharmacy. Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, MI, started their program in 2010 with the acronym "VIP" taking on a whole new meaning: Very Important Patient.  The hospital website states: "The Botsford Very Important Patient (VIP) program is our way of extending premier services and valuable discounts to you, our patients, because you deserve special treatment." In 2013, Primary Health Network, a group of federally qualified community health centers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, started a V.I.P. Loyalty Program using cards in an effort to reduce the high rate of missed appointments. The cards were similar to cards one might be given in a rewards program for an airline or grocery store. It was an effort led by now-retired CEO Jack Laeng to reduce incidents in which patients “failed to show” for primary-care, dental, gynecologic and other appointments. The rate of missed appointments was about 15% at the network's 45 locations in 2012. These programs were effective in both of these Mid-West Healthcare organizations. But if your organization decides to offer a perks program, be wary of focusing solely on amenities. While patients are apt to choose [...]

What’s in a name?

Where your medical record is concerned, everything. Every time you enter the healthcare system, they start by entering your name. You are literally putting your life in the hands of the registrar sitting at the desk across from you. You are assuming that they are getting your name right and that you are presenting yourself the same way you did last time you entered the healthcare system. America has always been a melting pot, embracing immigrants from all over the world, but that doesn’t mean we understand the naming conventions of foreign countries or that we are any good at spelling foreign sounding names. Spanish naming customs as historical traditions for naming children practiced in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. According to these customs, a person’s name consists of a given name followed by two family names (surnames). The first surname is usually the father’s first surname, and the seconds is the mother’s first surname. In recent years, the order of the surnames can be reversed at birth if it is so decided by the parents. Often, the practice is to use one given names and the first surname only, with the full name being used in legal, formal, and documentary matters, or for disambiguation when the first surname is very common (e.g., Jose Garcia Mesa). In contrast, many Asian naming customs have the last or family name presented before the first or given name. Several studies (Bohensky et al., 2011b; Campbell, 2009; Duvall et all, 2010; Fournel et al.,2009) have indicated that matched vital records with inpatient and outpatient medical records using probabilistic matching on participant names have more errors with foreign names. They found that Hispanic, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Navajo and Arabic names [...]

Problem Solved for Patient Matching Data

AHIMA  recently published a study  in the journal Perspectives in Health Information Management analyzing  nearly 400,000 duplicate patient record pairs that came from a range of geographies and organization types. The study, titled “Why Patient Matching Is a Challenge: Research on Master Patient Index (MPI) Data Discrepancies in Key Identifying Fields,” examined the differences between duplicate pairs in data fields such as name, birthdate, and SSN focusing on what data errors had caused the duplicates to be created in the first place. The study is broad-based and comprehensive in its analysis. The results, however, are hardly surprising. The study found that duplicate records were caused by four problems: (1) a lack of data standardization, (2) frequently changing demographic data, (3) a lack of enough demographic data points in a record, and (4) the entry of default and null values in key identifying fields. The conclusion was to suggest that improving data governance would lessen the occurrence of those four problems—and therefore would greatly decrease the creation of duplicate records.  Although this statement is certainly true, it is far easier said than done. Privasent solves the patient matching problem in an innovative way that eliminates the need for providers to clean and govern their data just to find and prevent duplicates. The Privasent solution uses a patented process combining biometric technologies and smart cards to register and authenticate patient identities, displacing the error-ridden and privacy-compromising demographics-based approaches currently deployed for patient identification. Using our absolute patient identity methodology, we address each of the four problems identified by the report as issues that lead to duplicate records. Problem: A lack of data standardization Solution: Once a patient is enrolled in our system, they are authenticated biometrically using a hand [...]

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Gaining Traction

A new health care standard is in town and it is gaining traction. Industry stakeholders are jumping on the band wagon, as major electronic health record vendors look to incorporate HL7’s emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard in their products. The new standard is expected to be put into use early next year. Many of the large vendors, Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, GE Healthcare and many other have already written application programming interfaces (APIs) and are actively testing the standard. Many vendors have reported support for the standard making it likely that this standard really could be useful and actually drive new efficiencies.  For vendors it represents an opportunity to offer more value to their clients and build new revenue streams.  For end users this offers ways to streamline and improve patient care and drive down bottom line costs. Speaking at last month’s Workgroup for the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Annual Conference, Chuck Jaffe, MD, CEO of HL7 announced that the normative version of FHIR will be available next year and should be stable enough for large vendors to incorporate into their platforms. Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and manager of the Argonaut Project, an industry-wide effort to accelerate the development and adoption of FHIR states that the strength of the Argonaut Project is the fact that there has been tremendous support for the iniative with strong engagement and collaboration from its testing community of about 80 providers and vendors. These vendors including rivals Cerner and Epic have been participating in a series of test “sprints” lasting 2 to 3 weeks each, which are scheduled to run through this summer. FHIR represents a next-generation standards framework leveraging RESTful APIs and OAuth-based security [...]

By | 2017-07-29T02:33:46+00:00 Tuesday, August 2, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments