The healthcare industry has a dupe problem. Today, on average, providers are seeing almost one in five of their patients’ records contain duplicates (meaning that two or more records are in existence with a variation of a patient’s name), according to a report by Black Book. This represents a significant threat as it can potentially lead to inaccurate billing and compromised patient safety. For years, providers have invested heavily in technology and systems designed to improve operational efficiency (while also mitigating the number of duplicate records) yet the problem persists.
According to the same report by Black Book, duplicate medical records cost an average hospital $1.5 million annually – and those are 2017 numbers, so today’s impact is even higher. The average cost of repeated medical care due to inaccurate patient identification with a duplicate record is roughly $1,950 per inpatient stay and more than $800 per emergency department visit. Likewise, A study from Boston Children’s Hospital estimates that one in three patients received duplicate tests because of duplicate health records.
It seems like a simple enough problem to solve, so why is it still so pervasive? As with so many issues in the complex world of healthcare, there is no single cause to the problem. Most commonly, the origin of duplicate records can be traced to a rushed patient intake experience — one that often leads to human error like typos; misunderstanding words or phrases due to language barriers and accents; or harried friends and relatives scrambling to remember information in an effort to assist loved ones in medical distress.
Additionally, patient name changes, due to common instances like marriage and divorce, aren’t often reported to healthcare providers in the expedient manner that they are with other agencies. Combine these factors with infrequent patient visits and the data quickly becomes inaccurate, resulting in duplicate records.
Pressure to act
As if these factors aren’t enough, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published industry-wide patient matching error goals of 2 percent by 2017, 0.5 percent by 2020 and 0.01 percent by 2024. For the many organizations that have yet to achieve the stated 2017 goal, the far more stringent 2020 standard presents a daunting challenge.
Although there is no mandate or enforcement mechanism attached to these goals at present, it’s not hard to envision the government taking a more aggressive approach in the absence of demonstrable industry-wide progress. The hard truth is that many organizations do not currently have plans in place that would even make it possible to demonstrate progress. Many continue to leverage the same processes and legacy technology that have been in place for years and find themselves no closer to meeting the ONC’s deadlines.
By Pratik Kirve, writer, blogger, and content writer, Allied Analytics.
Healthcare providers have been considering data confidentiality more than ever. It has become a part of patient experience as the implementation of biometric technology to safeguard patient information adds a layer of trust and confidence. As the popularity of biometric authentication increases among smartphone users, healthcare providers have been utilizing it for various processes, especially security. According to the cybersecurity survey by HIMSS, there has been a significant improvement in awareness regarding cybersecurity among healthcare organizations.
More funding has been allocated to IT departments and the advantage of an increasing number of healthcare-specific solutions have been taken. Though the survey spotted many flaws in the implementation of security measures such as usage of outdated tech in the networks, the awareness, and implementation of security shows organizations have taken patient data security seriously. The survey found that hackers have begun security breaches and organizations need to put better vigilance over the patient data and information.
Various measures have been taken by market players and tech giants to ensure the security of data. Fingerprint reading technology has been released to improve security and offer controlled access. Market players have been collaborating to enable better security through integration of iris biometric information with blockchain network. The industry for healthcare biometrics is booming. According to the research firm Allied Market Research, the global healthcare biometrics market is expected to grow at a considerable CAGR through 2023. Following are some of the activities taking place in the industry:
The demand for healthcare is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. This trend is caused by several factors, including the growth in the elderly population in developed nations and the growing medical expectations in developing ones. Simply put, medical professionals are tasked with treating more and more patients, meanwhile, the number of hours in the day remains unchanged.
Thankfully, technology is on hand to help. In terms of treating more patients without compromising the quality of care, the following are helping doctors and their staff:
We live in a world where data and deception go hand in hand. So many everyday activities – from online shopping and banking to emailing and paying bills – are governed by passwords, profiles and personal details.
And as people’s phones, cars, and homes get smarter and more connected, the number of ways criminals can try and access and abuse your personal information is only going to rise.
Most people rely heavily on passwords to protect their information. But as quickly as organizations and financial institutions create safer and safer systems, hackers are finding smarter ways to commit cybercrime, and there are more and more cases of identity theft.
The payments landscape
For debit and credit card purchases and online banking, suppliers are making a shift from chip and PIN to contactless and app-based payment technologies, but these still have one thing in common – a thief who steals your card or phone might still be able to access your cash or personal information.
Finger vein recognition
Biometrics technology has been the focus of new innovative ways of authenticating people’s identities. Biometrics includes fingerprints, iris scanning, and facial recognition, but it’s finger vein recognition that looks set to shake up the way we secure our data.
Leading scientists at Hitachi, which patented the technology in 2005, has been developing new ways to incorporate VeinID into the everyday payments and personal data landscape.
How does it work?
The Hitachi sensor works by transmitting near-infrared light through the finger. This is partially absorbed by haemoglobin in your veins, which enables the device to capture your unique finger vein pattern profile. This is then matched with your account’s pre-registered profile to confirm your identity.
But what makes VeinID more safe and secure than other types of passwords and security options?
Your veins are unique
No two people, even identical twins, have the same finger vein pattern. And while most people have unique fingerprints, you leave fingerprints on objects you touch, making it possible for criminals to lift and replicate for their own use. As your veins are inside your finger, there’s no way of anyone else knowing what the pattern looks like and trying to copy it.
Fingers can’t be stolen
Relying heavily on fingerprints has caused public concern in the past. When Apple launched TouchID a few years ago, people were worried about criminals cutting off people’s fingers to gain access to their phone and personal data.
While these proved to be outlandish claims, finger vein recognition users can rest easy knowing that the VeinID sensors only work with living tissue. If your finger has been cut (or severed from your hand!) the veins collapse, meaning your unique pattern is lost. Obviously, this doesn’t prevent a determined criminal from cutting off your finger, but at least, if they do, they won’t be able to access your personal information.
Guest post by Chris Strammiello, vice president global alliances and strategic marketing, Nuance Communications.
Every healthcare IT professional is already thinking about mobility and security in general, but not all consider their relation to document management. A single piece of paper could contain immeasurable amounts of sensitive data and even protected health information (PHI) that, if somehow found in the wrong hands, could present major HIPAA violations. So, how will document imaging impact healthcare technology?
The Mobile Game-Changer
As healthcare organizations transition their processes from paper to electronic workflows, mobile device use will increase. From patient registration to discharge and beyond, mobile technology simplifies patient communication via e-prescriptions, online scheduling and automated appointment reminders.
Productivity-enhancing capabilities like barcode scanners, e-forms and e-signatures also benefit practitioners by improving on-the-ground access to clinical documents and reducing manual document handling. Plus, mobile devices can curb printing costs through the implementation of pull printing, which holds a print job on a server until the user authenticates its release at the output. Ultimately, for the patient, all of these advantages translate into more time for quality interactions with their doctor; for the hospital, significantly streamlined processes and lower costs.
We also expect to see an increased use for mobile devices in medical instrumentation. Take, for example, the advancements brought to speech therapy with the utilization of a tablet’s microphone during a session. Previously, patient testing would have been done with a much larger and more complex device that would produce less data about the quality, pitch and frequency of the voice. Not only are mobile devices simplifying day-to-day workflow within the healthcare industry, but they will also revolutionize the actual healthcare practice.
Smarter, Simpler and Even Spoken Security
Alas, as with all technological advancements, security remains an essential question mark. Unfortunately, the smartphones, tablets, laptops and even multifunction printers (MFPs) that increase access to patient information are also some of the biggest security vulnerabilities in EHR implementations. In fact, theft or loss of portable and unencrypted devices is the leading source of reported HIPAA data breaches and fines. Even further, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now defines office copiers and printers to be actual workstations, IT professionals must secure them in the same way they do computers.
With all this in mind, both physical and technical safeguards must and will be improved in the near future, starting with the embrace of solutions that provide two-factor authentication. Commonly used in financial services, two-factor authentication combines a password with something you know, like the answer to “What is your mother’s maiden name?,” or something you have, like a fingerprint. We can expect such biometrics, including voice commands, being more commonly used as a second authentication factor in the near future. Long gone are the days of scanning your ID card to credential a print release – users will simply speak to the printer to verify who they are.