Eliminating patient matching in your EHR

The source of the problem Accurate patient matching is foundational to your EHR but all EHRs struggle with patient matching. Accurate patient matching is 10x more challenging today due to an explosion of data and data sources. Mergers/acquisitions within hospital systems, patient engagements, advanced analytics and information exchanges have all added to the patient matching challenges. EHRs’ patient matching woes are evidenced by rising duplicate rates. In 2008, an AHIMA study identified average duplicate record rates of between 8-12%. Black Book Market Research Survey shows that in 2018, this number has reached 18%.  By 2020, these rates are expected to rise to 20%. This is in sharp contrast to the ONC mandate of a .5% match rate. The cost of the problem No matter what EHR system you use, inaccurate patient matching has huge costs. According to the 2018, Mid-Year EHR Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Black Book Market Research, every duplicate record costs health systems $1,950 per inpatient stay, costs health systems $800 per Emergency Room visit and increases duplicate tests by 30%. The 2016, National Patient Misidentification Report by the Ponemon Institute reported that inaccurate patient matching causes $17.4M in denied claims annually for the average hospital. Traditional fixes Healthcare systems spend a lot of time “fixing” duplicate and inaccurate patient records.  Traditionally, this is done by data matching. Data matching can be either deterministic or probabilistic. In probabilistic, or referential matching, several field values from a variety of sources are compared between two records and each field is assigned a weight that indicates how closely the two-field values match. The sum of the individual field weights indicates the likelihood of a match between two records. In deterministic matching, a unique identifier for each record [...]

Involve These 4 People in Setting Your Patient Care Plan

Regardless of how busy the practice is, one thing is always consistent: patients need your attention. Every ailment needs a treatment that is going to help the patient heal and best meet their needs. Part of what separates a happy and fast-healing patient from the rest is having an appropriate patient care plan. Here are some of the most important people to include when setting up a care plan: Primary Care Provider Doctors have the longest history with the patient. In some care relationships, the primary doctor can remember patient details without even referring to their chart. Because they have such deep knowledge into the patient’s background, they should almost always be involved, at least for final approval of treatment. Nursing Staff or Nursing Director For inpatient care, a lot of the work is going to be executed by the nursing staff. Drug administration, regular vitals checks, and countless other activities that ensure the patient is safe and being treated appropriately. Nurses often rely on nursing care plans, which are standardized documents that help staff recognize and document nursing diagnoses. They also contain specific treatment regimens for the respective diagnoses, and are essentially the “game plan” for best relieving symptoms of the patient’s condition. As care is administered, it’s important for the assigned staff to perform proper patient verification at each stage described in the patient care plan, lest it result in a potentially devastating error. Patient Since they’re receiving the treatment, patients should be actively engaged by their care providers. They may not be able to make a clinical self-assessment, but they will have more information about their condition, personal history, and the circumstances leading to their condition than anyone else. The American Academy of [...]

By | 2017-10-25T18:18:55+00:00 Tuesday, March 6, 2018|Categories: Absolute Identity|Tags: , |0 Comments

These Are 4 Common Causes of 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 | 2017-10-25T18:16:34+00:00 Tuesday, February 13, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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

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 [...]

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, [...]