4 statistics that prove there’s a patient identification crisis

Hospitals are suffering a patient identity error crisis and they don’t even know it

A patient identification crisis is gripping hospitals’ EMPI and EHR systems. Patient identification errors threaten to harm patient safety, impact revenue cycle efficiency, and reduce profit margin and market share. Here are 4 statistics that illustrate how patient identification errors have become a critical issue for hospitals:

  1. 7-10% of patients are misidentified when their EMPI and EHR records are being searched. AHIMA reports that 8-12% of EHR records are duplicates. Still more patients may suffer medical errors due to missing health information in their records, or overlays that mingle multiple patients’ records together.
  2. Roughly 2.3 million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2014, and had to pay an average of $13,450 in out-of-pocket expenses. Medical identity theft is estimated to cost the healthcare industry over $30 billion a year. 
  3. Traditional patient identifiers, such as oral demographic data, Social Security Numbers, and patients’ addresses, can be easily mistyped and cause preventable medical errors. Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 440,000 deaths per year. 
  4. Cleansing inaccurate patient records can be costly for hospitals. The average cost to resolve a single duplicate medical record is $1,000. If 8% of a hospital’s records are duplicates, the costs to clean their EMPI database and EHR records increase exponentially.

How to solve the patient identity crisis

Fortunately, patient identification errors can be eradicated at the point where they originate: the registration desk. Implementing a registration solution that accurately identifies patients and matches them with their correct EMPI and EHR records reduces the risk of fraud and minimizes the risk of duplicate medical records.

Biometric identification technologies offer one of the most promising ways to combat the patient identification crisis. A biometric solution can quickly retrieve accurate patient records and ensure patients are matched to the right records. Palm vein technology has become a top biometric identifier, because palm veins are unique  to each patient and remain stable throughout patients’ lives. Registering a patient using a palm vein biometric identifier is less intrusive, faster, and more accurate than traditional registration methods.

Imprivata PatientSecure

Imprivata PatientSecure uses palm vein biometrics to create a 1:1 match between a patient’s palm vein scan and their health record, preventing medical fraud and reducing the likelihood of human error. By ensuring the correct patients’ records are retrieved at registration, hospitals mitigate the risk of adverse events and medical errors from patient identification mistakes and patients experience higher satisfaction from a streamlined registration process.

Imprivata PatientSecure is currently being used to identify more than 7 million patients across the United States. To learn more about why Imprivata PatientSecure is the positive patient identification solution of choice for more than 350 hospitals, please visit www.imprivata.com/imprivata-patientsecure.


Learn more about patient identification


Related whitepapers: