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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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% [...]

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 [...]

These Are 4 Common 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 | 2017-10-25T17:47:15+00:00 Tuesday, May 2, 2017|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: |0 Comments