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 [...]
The answer is easy – all of them. Let’s face it, no matter which one you use, EHR systems are not very user friendly. A new survey of hospital executives showed that 24 percent are conducting a major EHR system upgrade and another 21 percent are replacing their EHR at one or more sites. KPMG’s recent survey of CHIME members found that at least 38 percent of CIOs are investing in EHR optimization projects this year. They plan to spend more on EHR optimization than any other area of Health IT. One of the main reasons stated for the continued need to upgrade or optimize was that hospital staff still don’t like their EHRs. When healthcare staff compliance is an issue, it’s no wonder that patient misidentification and record issues are still so prevalent in the health industry. Could there be a way to improve compliance in the short-term, without waiting for EHR vendors to revise the systems altogether? Improving EHR Usability with Biometric Verification One way to make your EHR more efficient and user friendly is to integrate it into a patient biometric verification system. This is easily done with commonly used HL7 transactions - a feature that is available in most modern Certified EHR Technologies. Why Biometrics? Using systems like palm vein scanners (or equipment that doesn’t rely strictly on biometrics, like smart card readers) takes the pressure off of healthcare staff to: Identify the correct patient Recover the appropriate system record Detect fraudulent healthcare recipients Rigorously survey the patient as a verification method In addition to improvements to process and accuracy, biometric verification also tends to take less time. For example, registering a patient with the Privasent system takes only 25 seconds on average for returning patients. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
Fingerprints have been used for identification of individuals for the last hundred years and that is part of the problem with them. Getting your fingerprints taken is associated with law enforcement and having done something wrong. When you go to the doctor, it is essential that they know “you are the real you,” but if you are at the hospital, you usually feel bad enough already without being treated like a criminal. Fingerprints have the problem of being annoyingly unreliable and easily damaged. During winter months, for example, when the air is particularly dry, many fingerprint scanners have trouble reading fingerprints and numerous scans need to be performed to get an accurate reading. Palm-vein scanning as a biometric authentication method has also been around a while, but not as long as fingerprinting. The process identifies an individual by taking a picture of the vein pattern in your palm and converting it to a mathematical representation, that is encrypted and stored. Like fingerprints, the vein pattern of your hand is unique to you—and only you—but is not as easily damaged by everyday life. During authentication, the palm-vein image is captured, converted again and compared against the stored template of the user. Vein recognition technology is secure because the authentication data exists inside the body and therefore is very difficult to forge. It is also highly accurate. In Japan, palm-vein scanners have been used for consumer banking identification for the last 10 years. Additionally, palm-vein scanning products are also being used for door security, login authentication and other applications. Here in the United States, we are beginning to use them in healthcare settings for unique patient identification. Palm-vein scanning easily integrates into the registration process and provides low cost, [...]