Positive patient identification begins at step one
Affordable, high-resolution, dedicated ID card image scanners allow medical practices to start positive patient identification (PPID) at the point of registration.
By Ben Cunningham, DYMO S
ince improper patient identification was first identi- fied as a leading cause of medical errors by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), improving patient iden- tification accuracy has remained the top priority among the JCAHO’s annual National Patient Safety Goals. In addition to compromising patient safety, improper patient identification processes increase the risk of medical identity theft, such as insurance fraud, in which patients share insurance cards or providers submit false claims. Today, a PPID system is no longer just nice to have – it’s mission critical to practices of all sizes. Advances in both process and technology are helping healthcare providers improve patient information accuracy and streamline patient-care workflow. These improvements do come with some growing pains. Just as automating PPID
exists in multiple formats. Barcode generating and scanning technologies help streamline the conversion of hardcopy records into digital formats, but there’s a catch: These solu- tions work well as long as the documents can stay with the provider long enough to complete the conversion process. Two very important and sensitive patient documents that are used frequently at the point of patient registration – a patient ID card, such as a driver’s license, and an insurance card – cannot be simply turned over to the provider indefi- nitely to complete back-office digital conversion. Some prac-
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tices are turning to self-registration systems, such as patient information kiosks and registration tablets to address this problem. These systems can streamline data entry, but they do not adequately address the need to convert hardcopy card information into a digital format that can be added to the patient’s electronic record. They are also out of reach for many small- and medium-size practices due to cost and technical support requirements.
As a result, a key step in the patient registration process – accurately capturing a patient’s vital statistics and insurance billing data – is of- ten still being done manually. Manually copying and print- ing patient ID and insurance cards is labor intensive and inefficient. Patient privacy is also a
concern because hard copies can be misfiled, misplaced or left unsecured.
systems is driving the need to convert paper documents to electronic formats, medical practices are wrestling with the challenge of rationalizing hardcopy patient information that
10 August 2012 The solution A technology solution that is helping streamline the HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com