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

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

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 [...]

The Next Generation of Biometric Identification

First generation biometric devices are showing up everywhere these days from your smartphone to your gym. These devices can authenticate a user on the spot and let them have access to their phone or into their gym. They provide a moderate level of security to a device or a place that doesn’t require a high level of security. Both finger prints and facial recognition software have been easily fooled with high quality photographs and even Silly Puddy. For access to information with a medium level of sensitivity, this level of security is probably enough. For access to information which requires a higher level of security, like medical records, you really need a next generation biometric. A next generation biometric combines the physical biometric, like a palm vein scan, with a smartcard. This combination prevents a bad actor from fooling the software because palm vein scans cannot be duplicated and the smartcard has to be used in addition to the person’s palm.  This increases the security of the system dramatically. Incorrect identification in a medical setting could be devastating. It could lead to merging your record with another person’s record. This could lead to improper medical diagnosis, confusion over allergies and being given the wrong medication. Your safety as a patient and your responsibility as a provider requires the due diligence a next generation biometric provides. Using a first generation biometric identification system in a medical setting is like choosing a flip-phone over a smart phone. Which would you prefer having in your pocket? Learn about next generation biometrics and how they can help identify patients in your medical setting at www.privasent.com.

How can you share data if you don’t know who your patients are?

That is a very good question. In Meaningful Use II there is a really big push for interoperable data. That is the sharing of data between healthcare facilities to provide a complete picture of an individual health record. It all sounds really great and would be if healthcare facilities had more accurate ways of identifying their patients. The current methods of identifying patients with demographics lead to misidentification of patients, duplicate records and the inaccurate merging of records. Healthcare provider organizations report that between 8 and 13 percent of their medical records are duplicated — and sometimes as high as 22 percent. In multi-facility environments, where disparate application systems are integrated, the percentage of duplicates can surpass 30 percent. Solving this issue can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive. Software packages are available to compare patient records from disparate systems and indicate the probability that two records are duplicates, unique or potentially duplicate. These packages use probabilistic matching algorithms that incorporate phonetic similarities, variances in typographical entries and dates, and aliases. By determining the relative “weight” of specific comparators, the patient identity process improves significantly. However, until you have absolute healthcare identification, you will never prevent duplicate records and will always be in a constant loop of data cleansing. By using a combination of smart cards and biometric identification, you can confidently identify the patient during the registration process. You don’t have to depend on what the patient tells you to verify who they are; the biometric will do that for you. You can record the time and dates that a patient receives care, preventing both identify theft and billing fraud. As I stated at the beginning, you can’t share data between systems if you [...]

What Loyalty Programs Would Mean for Healthcare

Everyone loves to get something for free or at a discount. Many industries use loyalty programs to allow customers to accrue points and use them as coupons to get freebies or reduced prices the next time they come to the store, airline, or car rental among others. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published an article suggesting that “the use of loyalty programs within accountable care organizations (ACOs) could be a means of achieving patient-centric care and enhance the health system business model.” Patient retention is a problem for many practices. Loyalty programs could offer patients benefits such as vouchers for free parking, cafeteria discounts, preferred rates at restaurants or hotels, or even cab and bus vouchers, according to the article. The benefits can grow over time to ensure people with the greatest health needs receive the most rewards. The programs also could extend to medical supply companies, pharmacies and other ancillary providers, and potentially be tailored to individual patients, the authors suggest. Health systems could benefit if their loyalty programs would encourage patients to seek care with affiliated clinicians, keeping the patient within the ACOs care network. That could help ACOs save money by discouraging patients from seeking more costly care. Loyalty program members also are more likely to see the health system in a positive light and increase the customer satisfaction quotient. We would add that pairing the idea of a loyalty program with a smartcard biometric registration application, like Privasent, would further enhance the patient safety and satisfaction aspect. The physical smartcard could be used as the loyalty program token as well as providing absolute healthcare identity for the patient. Absolute healthcare identity supports the ACOs by eliminating identity fraud, reducing [...]