The healthcare system has been facing numerous challenges in the form of medication errors, testing faults, incorrect administration of drugs to patients, discharge of infants to incorrect families, etc. By accurately identifying the patient through a properly devised patient identification policy, all these areas of weakness can be improved. In the United Kingdom, countless cases of medical errors resulted due to missing or incorrect patient identification bands. In this article, we will be discussing the reasons behind patient misidentification, the threat it imposes, and the strategies that have proven to reduce this risk.
The medical industry was in the spotlight during the pandemic. It should adopt some possible ways that can’t affect its service-providing methods. The medical industry was still suffering from numerous challenges like inaccurate patient age verification data and false prescriptions. The health industry can be streamlined by identifying patients. Inaccurate data of patients can result in wrong medical services. As the data is now saved in software, it needs a solution that only takes patients’ data accurately but also saves it in the system efficiently.
Identifying Patients in Hospitals – What’s the Issue?
By accurately identifying patients, numerous mishaps can be prevented. Some areas where patient data inaccuracies can cause dire consequences to include the following to name a few:
Blood transfusion surgical treatment provision of OTC drugs to minor vaccine administration.
If a hospital is found to be guilty of medical malpractice, it may be punished by regulatory authorities. The fine will harm the organization’s reputation. The difficulty does not end there; health organizations must also keep data in a safe location. Because there’s a chance that information will be used for fraud and scams.
Know you patient
If a high-diabetic patient is given the medicine of a low-diabetic patient, he may experience major health concerns. Not just financial service providers, but also the health care industry, require precise consumer data.
It is a technique for checking the patient’s information. Traditionally, the hospital personnel checks the information provided by the patient by glancing at the documents provided by the patient. However, for online treatment, this strategy is not possible. Here, you’ll be able to use your patient, and the documents will be checked using AI-powered software.
The software extracts data from papers using OCR technology. The procedure for online patient verification is as follows:
- The patient can use a mobile phone or a computer to upload an image of their ID card.
- The technology then takes a live facial photo, which is subsequently compared to photo ID for facial recognition.
- The information is retrieved from the ID card.
If any case of medical ill-treatment arises in a hospital, it can be fined by regulatory authorities. The fine will damage the reputation of the organization. The problem does not stop here, but the health organizations also have to store in a secure place. Because there is a risk of frauds and scams using that information.
Through inaccurate patient data collection during registration, the hospital not only risks the life of the patient but also the institution’s reputation. As a result, countless fines, penalties, and lawsuits can be charged. In 2003, the U.S. Joint Commission placed accurate patient verification as the top priority in its National Patient Safety Goals. Today, similar standards are being maintained by healthcare institutions. This brings us to the seven strategies that have proven to minimize patient misidentification risk.
Strategy #1: Use Patient Identifiers
Firstly, hospital and pharmacy employees must verify every patient prior to performing or advising a treatment. This verification must be done based on accurate identity information. Identifying patients can be made easier by using at least two patient identifiers. This can include their full name and date of birth or similar personal questions. However, the patient’s room number must not be considered an identifier, as fraudsters can easily gain access to such information.
Secondly, the patient must be verified based on a standardized approach. For instance, the use of wristbands containing identity information must be standardized across the healthcare system.
Strategy #2: Use Biometric Technology for patients
Similar to how numerous other industries verify their customers, the healthcare segment can also follow suit. Biometric technology is being increasingly employed for identity verification as it offers verification results with much greater accuracy than the traditional methods.
Facial biometric recognition, in particular, can be used for accurately identifying patients and their medical history. This method is deemed more credible than fingerprint scanning, as it can also be implemented by online medical consultants and the telehealth industry.
The strength of this method lies in its ability to offer unchangeable identity details – a feature that is necessary for the detection of fraudsters using stolen identity details to get access to medical treatments and insurance.
Strategy #3: Labeling
A very basic and equally important strategy for identifying patients without error is through labeling. Whether it’s a label on the patient’s ID wristband for the pills they can be provided or the labels printed on blood/urine samples of each patient, this simple technique can prevent major misidentification risks. Additionally, responsible institutions are advised to label containers while in the presence of patients to avoid any discrepancies.
Strategy #4: Employee Training
The incorporation of up-to-date standards is imperative for any firm, regardless of their area of business operation. By educating the healthcare service providers about the benefits of identifying patients correctly, a culture of accountability and integrity can be maintained. On top of this, it also adds to the professional growth and development of the employees which is crucial for the well-being of a medical institution.
Strategy #5: Use IDV Solutions
To minimize the risks associated with inaccurate patient identification, healthcare institutions can utilize robust IDV (Identity Verification) solutions. These solutions are powered by artificial intelligence models and provide verification results with the highest levels of security and accuracy. This way, identifying patients remotely would no longer be a barrier.
Some people have medical insurance, which means that the insurance company is responsible for providing payments in the event of a medical emergency. Fraudsters steal patient data and then use it to file insurance claims. In this situation, the patient is completely oblivious of the deception until he goes to the insurance company to file a claim. There, he learns that his insurance payout has already been taken. He can sue the insurance company for failing to verify the patient’s identity.
In the case of the telemedicine industry, IDV solutions are able to verify patients by asking them to upload a picture of their identity document along with a selfie. Once the information is verified and the pictures have been cross-matched, the patient identity can continue to receive medical consultations within mere seconds. However, if an imposter has been detected by the AI-powered solution, healthcare service providers are alerted and access into the system is denied.
Patient misidentification is a global phenomenon identifying patients can be made more convenient through the use of patient identifiers, biometric technology, labeling, employee training, and IDV solutions.
Patient verification can help streamline the healthcare business, including hospitals and pharmacies. Verified patients can assist a firm in achieving a high market value. By erecting a strong barrier against insurance and other types of medical fraud. It is especially beneficial to the telemedicine industry, as the entire therapy is carried out via online platforms (video calls)