The COVID-19 pandemic has changed reality for the entire world as we know it. While many places are opening up with precautions, the virus continues to affect our lives. Anyone keeping tabs knows that the US has been hit the hardest – its healthcare system is trying its best to battle the novel virus. However, it’s facing unprecedented losses due to the virus as well as lower inpatient volumes. While many healthcare providers are unfortunately shutting down their doors due to the financial crisis, others are slowly opening their doors or adding new facilities. The most sensible way to move forward is by ensuring patient safety, preventing medical identity theft, and mitigating losses – all of which can be done using a futureproof patient identity management system. Let’s take a look at how these are interrelated.

Hospitals are closing down due to financial pressure

The AHA has already stated that healthcare providers this year will face losses of around $323 billion at the very least. $323 billion! This is primarily because hospitals had to cancel elective procedures so that they can deal with the surge of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, the massively reduced number of inpatient visits since the pandemic started was a contributing factor to the ongoing losses as well.

AHA’s prediction seems to be true, as many providers have already shut down even after introducing cost-cutting strategies like furloughing, reducing pay cuts, laying off employees, and so on. The pressure is just too much for many providers – they already have razor-thin margins. Let’s not forget the added expenses of COVID-19 – PPE, ventilators, and so on. Let’s take a look at how other factors might lead to losses.

Lack of patient identification systems increase losses

While healthcare providers are already working hard to reduce the effects they face due to the financial strain, they might want to think of alternative cost-cutting strategies. At this point, they need to look at strategies that can mitigate losses and improve patient care. For instance, they should evaluate the existing patient identification system. But how can patient identification help in such a scenario?

Well, the lack of effective patient identification has always been problematic for healthcare providers. Medical errors, denied claims, patient safety issues, and patient data integrity failure are just some of the consequences of patient identification errors, leading to significant losses.

Most healthcare providers have experienced such cases, which is why every year healthcare leaders urge to abolish the ban on the UPI (unique patient identifier). Sadly, it’s been around two decades without the UPI – providers have to use other means to identify their patients. Even if the UPI is created one day, the responsible providers would couple it with an effective patient identity verification system to ensure positive patient identification.

For now, providers are using different solutions or policies to identify their patients. As the majority of the solutions have been rendered ineffective by the pandemic (touch-based solutions), providers must evaluate their existing solutions if they intend to cauterize the ongoing losses.

Here are some questions to consider regarding the existing patient identification platforms:

  • Is the existing platform avoiding duplicate records?
  • Is it ensuring positive patient identification across the care continuum?
  • Is it ensuring patient data integrity?
  • Is it preventing medical identity theft in real-time?
  • Is it ensuring a hygienic environment?
  • Is it enhancing patient safety, improving health outcomes, and reducing medical errors?
  • Is the existing patient identification platform futureproof?
  • Are patients accepting it positively?

If any of the answers are “no”, providers need to upgrade their patient identification system. A simple misidentification can lead to denied claims, compromised patient care, repeated lab tests, and wrong treatment based on an inaccurate medical record – ultimately hurting the bottom line of the caregiver. Moreover, patient safety is jeopardized – there are many cases where patients have even sued their providers, something which no provider can afford right now. With all that said, is there any effective patient identification platform that can answer the questions above positively?

A futureproof patient identification system will go a long way

Thankfully, yes – RightPatient. It is a touchless patient identification platform and has years of experience helping providers identify their patients accurately. It uses a photo-based engine to match patient records accurately. Patients can take their selfies during appointment scheduling – the platform matches the photos on the backend, ensuring positive patient identification. 

During visits to the hospitals, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform matches the photos and provides accurate medical records, preventing medical identity theft, reducing denied claims, ensuring patient data integrity, and preventing duplicate medical records.

Hospitals need to reduce losses as soon as possible to ensure survival, and using an effective patient identification platform like RightPatient can be the key to it.

 

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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