The Healthcare Industry’s Identity Problem: How Today’s Verification Technology Can Eradicate Patient Identification Errors

Updated on September 1, 2023
Ways To Reduce Surgical Errors in a Hospital

In a recent report, HIMSS Market Insights found that “on average, organizations spend 109.6 hours per week and over $1 million each year to resolve patient identity issues.” In an era of rapid technical advancement, the healthcare industry is at a crossroads, grappling with a significant challenge that directly impacts patient safety and overall operational efficiency – patient identification errors. Some of the most common causes of patient identification errors include the similarity of patient names, inaccurate or incomplete patient information, human error, lack of proper training, incomplete or outdated identification badges. These errors are a serious problem in healthcare which can lead to a variety of issues, including the wrong medication administration, wrong surgical procedures, missed diagnoses, financial fraud, prescription abuse, patient harm or death. Yet as of today, most healthcare identity decisions are based solely on two basic variables – a patient’s name and birthdate. These rudimentary factors are simply not sufficient to use as safeguards against fraud and protect patient records. It is important for providers to understand what can be done to mitigate these risks, to ensure they maintain their reputation, compliance mandates, and continue to offer secure, verified access to patient care.

The Future of Identity Verification in Healthcare

Thankfully, there are a number of technological advancements available now that healthcare organizations can use to refine their conventional and potentially outdated patient identification systems. One of the most significant is the use of identity verification technology; a form of identity proofing that adds an important layer to the standard verification processes. Unlike traditional, manual methods, identity verification technology, which can often be utilized on a desktop, web, or mobile, provides an additional layer of security that is virtually impossible to replicate or manipulate. For example, by using both a patient’s selfie image and physical ID, and/or by implementing third-party data checks, verification platforms can confirm identity faster, allowing for more accurate authentication of a patient’s identity, which equates to speedier onboarding, faster care and greater access to medicine while minimizing human error, identity fraud and prescription abuse. Better yet, the types of technologies available allow businesses to fully customize identity verification workflow solutions, and tailor the tools to their unique business needs. 

The Impact of ID Verification Technology

These advanced methods of automated identity verification offer numerous benefits throughout the many steps of the patient/provider experience:

Onboarding & The Patient Experience

Identity verification technologies allow for a new standard of automation to streamline patient onboarding with ease. By seamlessly verifying data checks, social security numbers, IDs and insurance cards, it creates a more pleasant and personalized patient experience. This not only reduces administrative burdens but also instills confidence in patients that their sensitive information is handled securely and accurately, ultimately fostering stronger patient-provider relationships.

Patient Identity Verification 

Today’s technology allows providers to say goodbye to complex verification methods and tedious knowledge-based authentication, and hello to streamlined data checks, SSN validation, and automatic capture of IDs and information. By eliminating the potential for human error during the identification process, the technology significantly enhances the accuracy of patient records, ensuring that patients are administered the precise medication, treatment, and care they require. This heightened level of accuracy extends beyond immediate medical interventions; it also positively influences long-term health management by ensuring that patients’ medical histories and conditions are correctly documented and updated. As a result, healthcare providers can make well-informed decisions based on reliable data, leading to improved patient outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system as a whole.

Fraud Prevention

Identity verification platforms allow healthcare providers to confidently connect and deliver services to patients, while effectively thwarting identity theft and prescription fraud. These technologies ensure that a patient’s sensitive information remains safeguarded, and establishes a new paradigm where patient identification becomes a prioritized security measure. Such a proactive and technologically advanced measure goes beyond the mere preservation of patient data; it resonates as a commitment to building trust, integrity, and an unyielding dedication to unparalleled security.

Ultimately, as healthcare and telemedicine continue to evolve and the industry continues its journey toward digital transformation, ensuring the right people have access to the right care is crucial. By leveraging these types of cutting-edge identity verification technologies, healthcare providers have the potential to shape a landscape that is both technologically advanced and patient centric, ushering in a new era of patient identification that is seamless, secure and highly personalized.

John Baird
John Baird

John Baird is Vouched Co-founder and CEO.