The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges the US healthcare system has faced in decades. Even before that, it had a plethora of problems – outrageous costs, archaic laws, lack of price transparency, and so on. However, one of the more prominent problems the US healthcare system has been facing is patient identification errors. These occur due to a lot of issues – duplicate medical records or overlays in the EHR systems of hospitals and health systems, human errors, poor data integrity, and so on. Duplicate records can cost up to $40 million as well for healthcare providers. Healthcare experts have been asking the question “How to prevent duplicate medical records?” for far too long. The answer is simple – ensure accurate patient identification to avoid further duplicates and overlays.

Duplicate medical records

When a single patient has multiple EHRs (electronic health records) in the EHR system of a given hospital, he/she has duplicate records in the system. A variety of reasons lead to duplicate records, most commonly, human errors. Misspelling while entering patient data, not searching for the patient record appropriately, and common names and demographic characteristics are just some of the reasons for duplicate records creation.

Duplicate medical records are especially common for hospitals and health systems that do not utilize any modern patient identification platform and instead rely on the archaic patient identification method of asking the patients questions to determine their identities. This is quite obsolete, can lead to more duplicates, and leads to medical identity theft as well, as it is an unreliable way to identify patients. RightPatient can prevent duplicate medical records, prevent medical identity theft, and ensure accurate patient identification. Leading healthcare providers who understand the importance of proper patent identification have chosen it, but more on that later.

Impact of duplicate records

Black Book Research conducted a study where they highlighted the problems associated with duplicate medical records. The most common issues created by duplicate records are patient identification errors, redundant costs, repeated medical tests, denied claims – leading to significantly increased costs for any given healthcare provider – costing billions for the US healthcare system every year. Thus, the answer to “how to prevent duplicate medical records” is searched quite frequently.

However, that is not all. Duplicate medical records not only cause patient identification errors and financial costs for healthcare providers (in the form of poor revenue cycles and denied claims), but it also causes patient safety issues. Whenever a duplicate record gets created, it means that there is no medical history, information on medications, allergies, vitals, and other medical conditions associated with it. Likewise, if the patient is being treated using a previous duplicate record, it will have incomplete data of the aforementioned information. These will lead to wrong treatments, wrong procedures, and so on – hampering patient safety in the process. The only way to prevent duplicates, reduce associated healthcare costs, and enhance patient safety is by ensuring accurate patient identification. 

How to prevent duplicate medical records effectively

The majority of healthcare providers are struggling with duplicate medical records, patient identification errors, and overlays. However, leading healthcare providers have taken matters into their own hands. They have deployed a solution that mitigates the costs associated with duplicate medical records as well as preventing duplicate records creation. RightPatient answers “how to prevent duplicate medical records?”.

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that ensures positive patient identification by locking the medical records of the patients with their photos upon registration. Whenever the enrolled patient returns, all he/she needs to do is look at the camera – the platform matches the photos and provides the accurate EHR within seconds, ensuring accurate patient identification. It can seamlessly be integrated with major EHR systems, making it part of the workflow. 

Since it is a touchless platform, RIghtPatient is ahead of the curve, ensuring hygiene and eliminating any infection control concerns associated with patient identification. In fact, this was one of the major reasons why leading healthcare providers chose RightPatient over other platforms.

It prevents the creation of duplicate records right from the start, ensuring patient data integrity, providing accurate medical records, reducing denied claims, and preventing medical identity theft. 

Leading healthcare providers like Grady Health, Terrebonne General Medical Center, and University Health Care System have been using it and are ensuring patient safety by protecting millions of patient medical records and avoiding duplicates – boosting their bottom lines in the process.

Posted by Miley Dowling

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