The Impact Of Biometric Technology On Accurate Patient Identification In Health Care

What’s Often Missing From The Health Care Debate

Flip on the TV set, turn on the radio or surf the Internet these days and it’s hard to not hear someone talking about or people debating the topic of rising health care costs in America.  Just this past spring, Congress passed a historic health care bill that promises sweeping changes in the industry to help drive down costs and make health care more accessible and affordable to people that live in this country.  For all of the talk about medical malpractice and practicing more efficient care, overhauling Medicare reimbursements, the effect of pre-existing conditions on the newly insured, the inability of insurance companies to cap lifetime benefits and many other topics, there is inadequate coverage of another very important topic that contributes to the rise of health care costs in this country – patient misidentification and health care identity fraud.

The Impact of Patient Misidentification and Health Care Identity Fraud

We have all heard the unbelievable stories about the individual who goes in for heart bypass surgery and ends up having a leg amputated.  Or the person who had their identity stolen by someone who racked up thousands of dollars of health care costs in their name.  We scratch our heads and wonder – how could something like this happen?  How could a hospital or medical facility patient identification system break down and fail causing something like this to happen?  Where were the checks and balances to prohibit this from happening?  Did you know it has been reported that over 195,000 deaths in the U.S. occur annually because of medical errors?  Of those, almost 60% were attributable to failure to identify the correct patient.  Furthermore, each year nearly 250,000 Americans may be victims of health care identity fraud and the Federal Trade Commission estimates that medical identity crimes may cost the U.S. economy $468 million per year.  It is also estimated that at least $55.6 billion of all health care spending is spent each year on the inter-related combination of medical liability litigation and defensive medicine.  The problem of patient misidentification and health care identity fraud are acute and exact a heavy toll on the health care infrastructure in this country.  So, what can be done?

Biometric Patient Identification Systems are the Solution

Accurate patient identification has been number one on the list of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ (JCAHO) Hospital National Patient Safety Goals since 2003.  The health care industry has long been searching for a patient identification system to ensure 100% accuracy, safeguard patient health and reduce hospital liability.  In response to this need, M2SYS Technology has developed RightPatient™ the industry’s first multi-modal , multi-factor biometric patient identification system.  Through the use of Hybrid Biometric Platform™, RightPatient™ is the only biometric patient identification solution that gives health care facilities the option to use four different forms of biometric technology individually or in conjunction with one another to guarantee patient ID success, all of the time.

RightPatient™ Features and Benefits

Due to the fact that biometric templates are unique to an individual, RightPatient™ prevents duplicate medical records by alerting health care officials when a person is already enrolled in the system which substantially lowers risk for the hospital.  RightPatient™ also seamlessly interfaces with a health care facilities’ Electronic Health Records/Electronic Medical Records (EHR/EMR) to automatically enter a patient identification number into a field when a biometric scan is performed working fluidly behind the scenes to quickly identify the patient and provide health care staff with quick and timely information.  The use of RightPatient™ accelerates the check-in and registration process, while completely eliminating language barriers.  Unconscious patients can also easily be identified and doctors are ensured that the right medication is administered to the right patient.

The Costs and Impact of NOT Implementing Biometric Technology

Health care facilities that delay implementing biometric identification systems such as RightPatient™ inevitably will end up incurring unintended additional costs for their hesitation to act.  Earlier we outlined the consequences  of inadequate patient identification systems and the expense and liability that it creates for health care facilities which are ultimately passed on to patients through increased costs for services, higher insurance rates and more expensive medicine.  Enacting a biometric patient identification system helps to keep aggregate costs lower for health care in this country and because installation and maintenance of the system is so easy and seamless, why wouldn’t you want to look into biometric technology for your health care facility?

What are some of the initiatives you are effectuating in your health care facility to ensure accurate patient identification?  Please share them with us!

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John Trader (237 Posts)

John Trader is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager with M2SYS Technology, a recognized industry leader in biometric identity management technology. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA M2SYS Technology's mission is to pioneer the high-tech industry by delivering long-term value to customers, employees and partners through continued innovation and excellence in all aspects of our business. M2SYS continues to innovate, build and bring to market leading-edge biometrics solutions that revolutionize the industry and expand the applicability of biometrics technology in our marketplace. You can view their Web site at www.m2sys.com or contact them via e-mail at info@m2sys.com