Challenges of Transferring Data between Healthcare Institutions

Everyone hopes that if you have a medical emergency, that the hospital treating you will be able to gain immediate access to your medical records. The truth is that unless you are fortunate enough to be treated by our local hospital where you have been treated before, your medical records may not be readily available. Interoperability Interoperability refers to the ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another, even if they were developed by different manufacturers. Being able to exchange information between applications, databases, and other computer systems is crucial for the healthcare. Interoperability has to do with the capability of disparate computer and software systems to exchange and share data from a range of sources, including laboratories, clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, and medical practices. For example if a physician sends a patient to a radiology clinic for a complex fracture, the physician should be able to send the patients records to the clinic and the clinic should be able to send the results back to the patient’s physicians. However, several challenges still bar stakeholders from achieving true interoperability for optimal care delivery and improved patient health outcomes. One of the main issues is the lack of standardization in identifying individual patients.  If you can’t properly identify the patient, how can you be sure that you are transferring the right information. Master Patient Indexes Recently,  establishing an enterprise master patient index has been thought to be the answer to this problem. A recent study by Black Book Research found that hospitals without an enterprise master patient index had an average of 18% duplicate records in their EHR system. This duplication caused repeated medical care costing a reported average of $1950 per patient per [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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

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

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 [...]