So, you have decided you want to increase patient safety and reduce duplicate records by purchasing patient identification software. The first hurdle in this process is determining at which point of care you are identifying your patient and which patient identification software is right for you.
Fortunately, choosing the appropriate moments to perform a patient identification check is relatively simple. Prior to issuing care, confirm the patient’s identity.
Checkpoints for Leveraging Patient Identification Software
Logically, patient identification software should be used at the point of registration or check-in, since that’s the first step in delivering care. This is imperative to the patient’s safety for two main reasons. First, the patient needs to be sent to the right physician, specialist, or department depending on their condition. The second reason has more to do with their financial security, as registration serves as the first line of defense against medical identity fraud.
Transfer of Care
If the patient must be moved between hospital or clinic wings, exam rooms, or to an entirely separate facility within the health system, their identity should be verified. Because the patient is usually being transferred to the supervision of a different clinician, there needs to be crystal clear communication about what the next steps are in the patient’s care process. Relaying messages by word of mouth can be dangerous and result in never events and other care mismanagement, so it’s best to rely on the clarity of notes within the patient’s medical record. By making a patient identification check, providers can be more confident that they’re pulling the correct record and issuing the appropriate treatment.
When the patient has completed their appointment or treatment cycle at the care facility, there may be no need to for an additional verification step. However, for the same reason that identity is confirmed at the checkpoints listed above, providers need to make sure they’re maintaining an accurate record for their patient. That even includes details like scheduling follow-up appointments. Most appointments are made at the time of discharge, and thus patient identification software should be used at that time.
Choosing the Right Patient Identification Software
There are two types of patient identification software packages available: software which identifies a patient as they enter a healthcare point of care, and software packages which identify a patient during an extended stay at a healthcare facility. The latter inpatient care verification is handled somewhat differently than at entry points. In this article, I’m describing the patient identification software packages that identify patients as they enter the healthcare system.
Demographic patient identifiers are notoriously error-prone. Alternatively, biometric patient identification grants every patient a unique identity, is harder to replicate, and generally adds a heightened level of surety to the verification process. Knowing that biometric patient identification software is the optimal technique to use, the next decision is make sure you are getting an “Absolute Identity”.
Biometric plus Demographics vs Biometrics plus Global ID
The palm vein scan is the most readily accepted biometric, and it features the lowest cost with the most reliability over time. But even when biometric processes are employed, this measure is primarily tied to patient data and applied only at specific delivery of care facilities and not across multiple care settings. As the patient demographic data changes, the identity is no longer reliable. Finding a tool that can easily integrate with the healthcare facility’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) and can be used across facilities and provides as Global ID can be a challenge.
Adding Multi-Factor Authentication to Your Patient Identification Software
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security method that leverages different characteristics that are unique to a given user: something that only they know, they have, or that they are. The “what they are” criterion is another descriptor for biometrics. By adding layers to the authentication process, it becomes significantly more secure and difficult to replicate. In the case of a healthcare setting, MFA can also add options to the patient identification process to make it more convenient.
The knowledge component of MFA will likely always be present in healthcare because of its convenience. That identifier is the patient demographic information we mentioned earlier, which, to reiterate, is unreliable. Instead, providers can find a balance between convenience and security in issuing a unique patient identification card – something the patient will have. Using a patient ID card in conjunction with biometric software solves the issue of having comprehensive security in the care settings where biometrics may not be viable.
Experience Secure Patient Identification Software for Yourself
Privasent, which offers a unique combination of an encrypted smart card and a biometric identifier, can protect the patient’s identity at each point of care within your Healthcare system regardless of the Electronic Health Record system used creating a Global ID. Privasent provides a Unique, Absolute and Interoperable Identity for every patient. Find out more at privasent.com, or request a demo.