Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Gaining Traction

A new health care standard is in town and it is gaining traction. Industry stakeholders are jumping on the band wagon, as major electronic health record vendors look to incorporate HL7’s emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard in their products. The new standard is expected to be put into use early next year. Many of the large vendors, Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, GE Healthcare and many other have already written application programming interfaces (APIs) and are actively testing the standard. Many vendors have reported support for the standard making it likely that this standard really could be useful and actually drive new efficiencies.  For vendors it represents an opportunity to offer more value to their clients and build new revenue streams.  For end users this offers ways to streamline and improve patient care and drive down bottom line costs. Speaking at last month’s Workgroup for the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Annual Conference, Chuck Jaffe, MD, CEO of HL7 announced that the normative version of FHIR will be available next year and should be stable enough for large vendors to incorporate into their platforms. Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and manager of the Argonaut Project, an industry-wide effort to accelerate the development and adoption of FHIR states that the strength of the Argonaut Project is the fact that there has been tremendous support for the iniative with strong engagement and collaboration from its testing community of about 80 providers and vendors. These vendors including rivals Cerner and Epic have been participating in a series of test “sprints” lasting 2 to 3 weeks each, which are scheduled to run through this summer. FHIR represents a next-generation standards framework leveraging RESTful APIs and OAuth-based security [...]

By | 2017-07-29T02:33:46+00:00 Tuesday, August 2, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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 [...]

Medicare’s Use of Smartcards for Identification

The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) General Accounting Office (GAO) completed a study on the use of smartcards to prevent fraud in Medicare. Their findings were that the use of smartcards would completely or partially prevent 22% of Medicare fraud, which in their minds did not support the cost or inconvenience of implementing a smartcard program. They stated most Medicare fraud (about 68% of the cases) included more than one scheme with 61% including two to four schemes. The most common health care fraud schemes were related to fraudulent billing, such as billing for services that were not provided and billing for services that were not medically necessary. They determined that having a smartcard would not have prevented these types of fraud because the patient was present and did actually receive some type of care. The question that the HHS GAO study did not consider was patient safety. I realize there is a lot of Medicare fraud, that it is a great burden to our government, reducing the amount of funding available to support the Medicare program, but patient safety is also an important concern. The lack of standards for patient identification at the federal and state levels compromises patient safety and escalates health care costs. According to Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 8-14% of Electronic Health Records (EHR) have patient identity errors. The risk of an identity error increases 5% every time a record is shared among providers. Simply said, a physician relying on the wrong EHR and medical history due to an identity error can make a costly, if not deadly, decision. Having a smartcard, especially one paired with a biometric identifier like a pal- vein scan, would provide an absolute [...]

Why Palm-Vein Scans are Better for Healthcare than Fingerprints

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, [...]

Healthcare Payers Need Absolute Healthcare Identity

Knowing who your patient is with a high degree of certainty has been a problem as long as healthcare has kept records. A more complete and accurate patient medical record delivered to the point of care would result in: fewer diagnostic and treatment errors; improved care coordination across facilities and healthcare providers; and a reduced number of re-admits.  The latest CDC study reveals that each year preventable adverse events (PAEs) lead to the death of 210,000-400,000 patients who seek care at a hospital. According to Fierce Healthcare news, hospital medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The 2013 Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange ( Wedi ) Report recommends the following actions to address concerns over PAEs, Standardize the patient identification process across the healthcare system. Identify and promote effective and actionable electronic approaches to patient information capture, maintenance and dissemination that leverage mobile devices and "smart" technologies and applications. Identify and promote methods and standards for healthcare information exchange that would enhance care coordination. Another area of concern that is impacted by absolute patient identity is provider/patient fraud. Not all patient fraud can be eliminated but verifiable patient ID would reduce: filing of claims for services or medications not received; use of a false coverage or insurance card; providers adding charges for procedures or services that did not take place and patient “doctor shopping” or traveling from doctor to doctor for the purpose of obtaining more prescription drugs than they are entitled to. The FBI reports that healthcare fraud of 3% cost US $80B per year. A 2014 Aberdeen Research Report found that faster detection of fraud or potential fraud correlates with a lower total cost of fraud for the companies [...]

By | 2017-07-29T02:33:46+00:00 Tuesday, March 1, 2016|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Stage 3 of Meaningful Use and Patient Identity

Public comments are currently being accepted to the new requirements for Stage 3 of ACA Meaningful Use proposed rule until May 29th, 2015. Stage 3 is meant serve as the platform for the program over the long term. Among the goals is to provide a flexible, clearer framework that simplifies the MU program to reduce the complexity created by multiple stage requirements and to reduce provider burden, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the program. Of the eight proposed objectives in Stage 3, the first four objectives are “legacy” objectives from Stage 1 and 2. Protect Patient Health Information Electronic Prescribing Clinical Decision Support Computerized Provider Order Entry The four remaining objectives represent some differences in the proposed rule in Stage 3. Patient Electronic Access to Health Information Coordination of Care through Patient Engagement Health Information Exchange Public Health and Clinical Data Registry Reporting Several of these objectives relate directly to patient identity. Without absolute patient identity, how are you going to know you are really protecting the right data for the right patient? Without absolute patient identity how can you guarantee that you are giving a patient electronic access to the correct patient record? Without absolute patient identity how do you know that in a Health Information Exchange that the patient at one medical facility is truly the same patient at another medical facility? And if the medical records of a patient are combined from multiple facilities to give a combined patient overview, how can you guarantee that information from multiple patients with similar names have not been combined together if you do not have absolute patient identity? To me, it looks like absolute patient identity is the backbone of the Meaningful Use 3 [...]

4 Reasons Why Smart Cards and Biometrics Make a Great Team

Smart cards have been used for patient access for a number of years around the world, but adding a biometric component to the card is a new twist. Adding the biometric increases the level of security associated with the card. The winning combination has begun to produce measurable financial benefits for healthcare institutions. 1.  Smart card with biometrics and Meaningful Use: Measure 1) Eligible hospitals that transition their patients to another setting of care or provider of care and refers their patient to another provider of care provides a summary care record for each transition of care or referral. Measure 2) More than 10% of these summaries a) electronically submitted or b) via an exchange facilitated by an organization that is NwHIN exchange participant or in a manner that is consistent with the governance mechanism ONC establishes for the nationwide health information exchange. Measure 3) Conducts one or more successful electronic exchanges of summary of care document. Without precise patient identity standards, the exchange of these records can be compromised. Smart cards/with biometrics ensures a unique and absolute identity and that the patient’s identity is precisely the same wherever the patient receives care. This unique identity is the foundation for record exchange and eliminates the patient safety and financial risk of providers basing clinical decisions on the wrong patient record or patient records that have been incorrectly merged. It should be noted that the present demographic based patient identification techniques for health information exchange have a 5% error rate. I don’t think any patient wants to be included in that 5%. 2.  Smart cards with Biometrics eliminates duplicate records. Once implemented, every patient is issued a unique identity that is contained in the combination of [...]

Nine Reasons Healthcare CFOs Should Love Smart Cards

Healthcare CFOs have a lot to worry about these days. They need to balance both rising healthcare cost and rising technology costs.  The challenge is not only to secure the funding for new technology, but also to weigh the potential benefits of new and emerging technology against the costs. Serious consideration must be given to the consequences of technology adoption for legacy systems, life-cycle costs, and long-term technology evolution. Over the past few years, smart card use in the healthcare sector worldwide has grown significantly. Current programs focus on patient identification: streamlining admissions, managing payments, and moving patient data from point to point. Smart cards are portable, secure, and can be leveraged to create closer patient alignments, generate higher patient satisfaction levels, and increase revenue for the healthcare issuer. Smart card technology is a reliable and proven solution that has had decades of use in other industries and is now making its mark on healthcare. Here are nine reasons for healthcare CFOs to love smart cards. Smart cards: Reduce cost. Improve patient identification and workflow. Reduce claims denials and increase revenue capture. Provide authenticated and authorized access to healthcare information. Assist with compliance to HIPAA privacy and security requirements. Improve facility and network security. Provide immediate access to life-saving information. Improve patient and physician satisfaction. Provide support for a national health information network. The Smart card alliance documented the benefits of Smart cards in 2009, yet hospitals across the nation have been slow to embrace the technology. Smart cards linked with biometrics could provide security and cost savings across the healthcare environment.  You can download the entire Smart card Alliance white paper here. To find out more about using smart cards with biometrics check out [...]

5 Reasons Smart Cards are Good for Healthcare

Healthcare organizations worldwide are implementing smart health cards supporting a wide variety of features and applications. Smart health cards can improve the security and privacy of patient information, provide the secure carrier for portable medical records, reduce healthcare fraud, support new processes for portable medical records, provide secure access to emergency medical information, enable compliance with government initiatives and mandates, and provide the platform to implement other applications as needed by the healthcare organization. Here are five ways that smart cards can support healthcare Effective healthcare Identity management. Smart cards have been successfully used across the globe for effective patient identification in healthcare settings. Smart cards have been proven safer than magnetic strip cards because they are harder to duplicate, therefore more secure, and can hold more patient information. Supporting privacy and security requirements mandated by HIPAA. Federal standards are in place for identity verification and data access and security which use smart cards (the FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard for Federal employee and contractor identification cards). Providing the secure carrier for portable medical records. Smart card technology can help institutions manage a qualified EHR by integrating information from other external sources. Reducing healthcare fraud. Smart cards combined with biometrics can prevent healthcare fraud by requiring absolute identification at each healthcare encounter and providing a record of each time a patient has checked in for care. These verifications authenticate that the patient was present and received care eliminating the possibility of identity theft coupled with fraudulent billings. Providing secure access to emergency medical information. Smart cards can be programmed to carry medical information which can be vital in emergency situations such as prescriptions, allergies and health conditions. Read more about smart cards and healthcare [...]