New Podcast Sheds Light on Growing Importance of Big Data in Healthcare

Mandi Bishop discusses big data in healthcare for the latest M2SYS Healthcare Solutions healthcare biometrics podcast

Mandi Bishop, Principal at Adaptive Project Solutions, discussed big data in healthcare on our latest podcast.

Big data is a buzzword in the healthcare industry that can cause shivers down the spines of anyone who understands it’s potential to help advance the dual goal of improving population and individual health. Although big data is a not a relatively new term to the healthcare industry, many are just beginning to understand the power it has to radically alter the face of healthcare, but struggle to understand the proper methodologies to harness its power and the coordination of resources needed to make it an effective tool.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Mandi Bishop, (aka @MandiBPro on Twitter) Principal at Adaptive Project Solutions and an expert on big data in healthcare, to get her feedback on what the term “big data” actually means, what the main barriers are to collecting and mining big data, the potential it has to change the face of healthcare, what implication big data has on patient privacy, and much more! To listen to the podcast, please visit our healthcare biometrics podcast page and click on Big Data in Healthcare – How it Promises to Reshape the Industry with Mandi Bishop.

Please feel open to listening in to any of our other healthcare biometrics podcast series as we interview industry professionals on some of the most important topics in the industry. Have an idea for a guest on a future podcast? Drop us an email at: and let us know your idea!

New Podcast Sheds Light On Health IT Data Security Strategies

Mac Mc Millan, Chair of the HIMSS Privacy & security Task Force was the guest on M2SYS Healthcare Solutions podcast

Mac McMillan, Chair of the HIMSS Privacy & security Task Force joined us for our latest podcast on health IT data security

As part of our continuing podcast series on the top issues and challenges facing health IT and the healthcare industry, last week we released the recording of our recent discussion with Mac McMillan, Chair of the HIMSS Privacy & Security Task Force and CEO of Cynergist Tek – a firm specializing in the areas of information security and regulatory compliance in healthcare. The discussion covered:

  1. The HIMSS Security & Privacy Task Force mission and objectives
  2. How the recent HIPAA rule changes effect the provider-business associate relationship
  3. The difference between “access” and “possession” of personal health information (PHI) and how it impacts HIPAA compliance
  4. The definition of “privacy”
  5. How fear factors into policies surrounding privacy
  6. Modern, viable technologies to protect patient data
  7. Whether the use of biometrics for patient identification violates patient privacy
  8. PHI application patient adoption trends

An extremely informative discussion, Mac was able to walk us through not only the infrastructure of the HIMSS Privacy & Security Task Force, but provide an overview of its mission to review the policy issues affecting privacy and security in healthcare that arise from new legislation, regulation, and rules. Plus Mac discussed the detailed new HIPAA rules on how PHI is maintained and protected and what constitutes “access” vs. “posession” of PHI data plus he commented on increased accountability and transparency in the industry including steps healthcare providers need to take to help tighten oversight on third party vendors management patient information.

Mac went on to provide us his definition of “privacy” and offered interesting insight on how patient interpretation of privacy largely hinges on generational influence and how PHI data management is a major influence of patient industry perception. Mac also discussed in detail how fear of the known vs. the unknown may play an important part in shaping healthcare provider procedures and guidelines and how fear is an important motivator for making organizational change.

We wrapped up our discussion with Mac with his opinion on whether using technologies like biometrics for patient identification violate patient privacy (he feels they don’t if explained properly to the patient and data is protected) as well as his thoughts on the increasing trend in patient PHI portal adoption, whether we can expect to see increases in this trend and what types of patient portals are more acceptable and trusted by patients.

Overall, this is an excellent podcast to learn more about recent trends and changes in PHI data management and new information on what types of technologies are available for healthcare providers to research that will help to protect this sensitive information. Our thanks to Mac for his time, insight, and wisdom on these topics. We encourage you to download and listen to the podcast at your convenience by clicking here.

Do you have an idea for a podcast? Drop us a note at with your ideas. Thanks for listening!

How M2SYS Healthcare Solutions is Contributing to the Health IT Movement

Iris biometrics for patient identification is one way health IT technology is helping to change the industry

#NHITWeek celebrates health IT technology and it’s impant on the industry

If you work in the healthcare industry, it should come as no surprise that we are in the throes of a massive sea change in care delivery models. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 set the wheels in motion for titanic changes in the expansion and adoption of health information technology and since then, a large majority of healthcare providers around the country have successfully implemented or updated their electronic health record systems.

As the proliferation of electronic health record systems, health information exchanges (HIEs), and integrated delivery networks (IDNs) continues, it’s surprising that little to no progress has been made on the sticky subject of establishing a national patient identifier (NPI) to promote interoperability and reduce errors related to mismatches between health data and patients. There are however, substantial concerns about establishing this type of identifier, most notably the privacy fears that it would be too easy to steal personal health information if there were universal ID numbers.

Unfortunately, as progress on legislation establishing a more concrete way to identify patients languishes in Congress, between 8 and 14% of medical records include erroneous information tied to an incorrect patient identity, costing hundreds of millions of dollars per year to correct and resulting in serious risk to patient safety. In addition, with the numerous benefits of EHRs and HIE also come potential opportunities for patient-data mismatches. After all, patient mismatches, which already occur at a significant rate within individual institutions and systems, will significantly increase when entities communicate among each other via HIE —a Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirement — that may be using different systems, different matching algorithms, and different data dictionaries. Collaborative care is certainly making the problem of accurate patient identification worse.

This shifts the burden of implementing patient identification technology to individual healthcare systems which could hamper the exchange of healthcare data with other institutions posing serious challenges for healthcare infrastructure. HIEs are facing issues when trying to piece together patient IDs from multiple providers forcing them to rely on algorithms that match and merge patient data from multiple medical records. The problem is, these algorithms and the matching process is cumbersome and exposed to errors with even the most sophisticated of algorithm matches prone to mistakes resulting from typos or common surnames.

In the absence of a NPI, more and more hospitals and healthcare providers are turning to alternative patient identification technologies to help eliminate duplicate medical records, overlays, and other mis-matching errors that jeopardize patient safety. One of the technologies rapidly adopted by the healthcare industry is the use of biometrics for patient identification.

Through our RightPatient™ iris biometric patient identification system, we are successfully helping hospitals and healthcare facilities increase patient safety by instantly retrieving a patient’s medical record following a fast biometric scan. This helps the industry establish a concrete identity for each patient and link that identity to an individual electronic health record enabling healthcare organizations to prevent duplicate medical records and eliminate fraud while improving patient safety systems.

We add value to the equation by suggesting that healthcare facilities consider adopting iris biometrics as their hardware modality for patient ID not only because it is non-invasive and requires no contact with a device by a patient (supporting hospital infection control), but also because iris biometric data is compliant with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standardization and has been extensively tested and certified as generic, shared data across disparate networks. This bodes well for healthcare facilities looking to establish “patient identity integrity” upon admission and during a patient’s stay as the cornerstone of efforts to maintain reliable and authentic data throughout the networks they establish or join. Biometrics can play a key role in helping to ensure the transfer of clean patient data by preventing the creation of duplicate medical records. As more regions, communities and hospital systems participate in health information exchange, biometric data can also be shared for the benefit of patients and providers.

We expanded the efficiency and effectiveness of our iris biometric patient identification software by capturing a patient’s photo and linking that to their electronic medical record as a means of multi-factor authentication for hospital staff. Plus, we offer a mobile solution that allows caregivers to authenticate a patient’s identity bedside, during home health, in the ER or any any point along the care continuum to ensure the right care is delivered to the right patient.

We also offer a back end data analytics module within the RightPatient™ system to help monitor system performance and user activity. Through a user-friendly, web-based interface, healthcare administrators have access to the real-time data that they need to analyze system usage, track pattern flow, troubleshoot, establish a concrete patient activity audit trail, and potentially reallocate resources based on results.

We are passionate about our role in the healthcare industry as stewards of effective patient identification technology to help increase patient safety, eliminate fraud and medical identity theft at the point of service, and reduce errors and proud to be a part of the health IT movement.

Healthcare Infographic: The Cost of Duplicate Medical Records and Overlays on Healthcare

Healthcare infographic on the effect of duplicate medical records and overlays on patient safety

Our latest healthcare infographic examines the effect that duplicate medical records and overlays have on patient safety.

Most people that work with data in and around the healthcare industry are well aware of the negative impact that duplicate medical records and overlays can have on patient safety and the cost of care. Health information management (HIM) professionals are constantly monitoring and rectifying duplicate medical records and overlays because they pose an imminent danger when treating patients with misinformation and can cause a delay in treatment or tests to be repeated.

Even though the subject of duplicate medical records and overlays is well known within the industry, few patients know or understand the devastating impact that can result in their creation, what additional costs they add to care, and what types of technologies (both old and new) and currently used by healthcare facilities to prevent their creation. With that in mind, we assembled an Infographic that outlines the origins, effects, and costs that duplicate medical records and overlays place on the healthcare industry, plus a detailed overview of patient data-matching technologies that facilities use to identify and avert these detriments to quality patient care including a study of algorithms, smart cards, and biometrics for patient identification.

Please take a moment to read through our healthcare Infographic on the effect of duplicate medical records and overlays in healthcare and share it with a friend who may need to know more about this topic. We also offer the chance for you to copy and paste the code at the bottom of the Infographic and embed it on your site (just click on the healthcare Infographic and scroll down to the bottom).


The Cost of Duplicate Medical Records and Overlays in Healthcare
Via: M2SYS Healthcare Solutions

Iris Biometrics Helping to Prevent Fraud in Healthcare

iris biometrics for patient identification helps to prevent fraud in healthcare

An article on using iris biometrics to prevent healthcare fraud was recently published by The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Thank you to our friends over at the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud for allowing our Founder/CEO Mizan Rahman the opportunity to write this article on how iris biometrics are helping to shift the battle against fraud in healthcare to prevention rather than chasing.

Considering the fact that current healthcare spending in the U.S. is growing at approximately 1.5 times the GDP growth rate and will soon constitute 20% of the overall economy, coupled with the fact that healthcare fraud and waste is estimated to cost somewhere between $70 to $255 billion per year, concrete solutions are needed.

The article examines the detrimental effect that fraud and waste has on the healthcare industry and how a shift to more preventative strategies before services are rendered and claims are submitted is a way to attack the core problem.

The use of iris biometrics for patient identification is already paying dividends in the healthcare industry and conservative estimates say that it can help cut down on fraud, quantified by these statistics:

  • Cost of fraud per patient visit: $78;
  • Percentage of patient ID fraud: 5 percent; and
  • Cost of patient ID fraud per visit: $3.90.

Thank you again to our friends at the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud for the opportunity to write about the impact that iris biometrics is having in the ongoing fight to prevent fraud and waste in healthcare.

Defining Patient Verification & Identification in Healthcare

Five years ago, it seemed inconceivable that healthcare would be able to use biometrics as a patient identification system. Back then, biometrics was still deeply entrenched in government security deployments, merely grazing the pastures of the commercial marketplace but showing breakthrough potential for practical applications that would begin to spell dividends for a variety of vertical markets. Here we are in 2012 and hospitals all across the world are catching on to the benefits of using biometrics for patient identification; specifically, how it helps:

  • raise patient safety standard levels;

    Only iris bioemtric patient identification solutions use one to many matching that can prevent duplicates, overlays and fraud.

    Iris biometrics for patient identification uses one to many seaching

  • reduce hospital liability;
  • verify the identity of unconscious patients;
  • lower language barriers; and
  • prevent medical identity theft.

It is important to note, however, that conspicuously missing from this list of advantages is one of the most essential uses of biometrics for patient identification – the prevention of duplicate medical records.

It is widely known in the healthcare industry that duplicate medical records are a drain on both money and resources as medical facilities struggle to discover a solution that will actively prevent their creation. A biometric patient identification solution can indeed prevent the creation of new duplicate medical records, but only if it is a system based on what is called one-to-many identification (1:N).

As some may or may not know, in biometrics, there are three different ways to recognize a person: verification (one-to-one, or 1:1), segmented identification (one-to-few, or 1:Few) and identification (one-to-many, or 1:N):

Read More: Webinar on Biometric Patient Identification Technology for Patient Safety

One-To-One (1:1) Verification: This method of authentication confirms or denies a person’s claimed identity using a biometric scan and normally follows the physical presentation of an identification document (e.g. social security card, driver’s license, etc.) or the entry of a personal credential (e.g. PIN, username/password). The provided credential locates a stored biometric template that has been linked to it from a prior enrollment. After the credential is provided, the person scans his/her biometric and the captured template is compared against only the stored template that has been located with the credential. Biometric verification (1:1) answers the question, “Are you who you say you are?”

One-To-Few (1:Few) Segmented Identification

This method involves confirming or denying a person’s claimed identity using a biometric scan followed by verbal confirmation to a general identification question (e.g., What is your date of birth?) or the entry of some known general information (gender, race, eye color, etc.). The provided information segments the biometric database so that only a small number of biometric templates are compared against one another following a biometric scan.

Example – A patient walks into the ER and during registration is asked for his date of birth (DOB) before scanning his biometric identifier. If no match is found, then the hospital staff member will create a new medical record and enroll the patient’s biometric template (which will be associated to the medical record). Using another form of ID in addition to the biometric scan drastically reduces the number of biometric templates that are searched. For example, if the hospital has 500,000 stored biometric records and a patient provides a DOB of 10/9/80, only patient biometric templates with this DOB will be searched. Due to this database segmentation, all biometric templates are not compared against during initial enrollment or subsequent visits. This limitation does not prevent duplicate medical records and patient fraud (i.e., a patient could enroll with the same biometric template multiple times).

Infographic: The Cost of Duplicate Medical Records

One-To-Many (1:N) Identification

This method of identification determines a person’s identity without any prior claim needed and answers the question, “Who are you?” It substantiates an individual’s identity by comparing a scanned biometric template against all stored biometric templates. A biometric system using the one-to-many approach finds an identity from a database rather than verifying a claimed identity or searching a segmented portion of stored biometric templates.

Example – A patient walks into the ER and during registration is asked to scan her biometric identifier. The captured biometric template is compared against the entire database to see if a medical record already exists. In the absence of database segmentation, the entire medical record database is scanned to ensure a duplicate medical record is not created for this patient to prevent the chance of fraud.

Rightpatient biometric patient identification uses one to many identification to help prevent medical identity theft and eliminate duplicate medical records.

One to many identification is the only true way to prevent duplicate medical records in healthcare

Biometric patient identification systems based on 1:1 or 1:Few matching require medical facilities to ask patients for some form of identification or credential before the patient performs a biometric scan. The identification or credential provided (e.g., DOB) locates a specific patient record or group of records (e.g., list of patients with a specific DOB). When a biometric scan is performed, the captured template is only compared against one record (verification) or a very small, segmented group of records (1:Few). This does not provide a mechanism to compare the patient’s scanned biometric template against all records in the database to check for duplication or to prevent someone from being registered under multiple IDs. 1:1 and 1:Few verification will not prevent a duplicate record from being created and opens the door for patients to enroll under multiple identities and commit fraud.

In contrast, 1:N searches will scan the entire master patient index each time a patient attempts a biometric enrollment (de-duplication) and each time he or she checks in anywhere within that healthcare network (provided the patient registry is shared across the system). Providing the sole means of preventing duplicate medical records by searching each patient’s template in the entire system instead of only those who are grouped in a list after presenting an initial form of ID, 1:N searches are the only true way for healthcare to raise the level of patient safety, lower liability risks, and strengthen medical identity theft prevention programs.

Due diligence is very important before investing in a biometric patient identification system. Is your organization asking the right questions before piloting or purchasing a solution?

A version of this first appeared on Advance for Healthcare Information Professionals. 


Podcast to Learn More About Biometric Patient Identification Systems

Listen in to this free podcast explaining the value of using biometrics for patient identification to eliminate duplicate medical records, prevent patient fraud and raise patient safety levels.

Listen in to HIT Consultant’s podcast about using biometrics for patient identification.

We were happy to have the opportunity to record a podcast with HIT Consultant that explains the value of using biometrics for patient identification. HIT Consultant Founder Fred Pennic contacted us recently to ask if we would be open to joining him for a question and answer conversation about how biometric patient identification systems work and their value for healthcare organizations seeking to:

— Prevent duplicate medical records
— Eliminate patient fraud and medical identity theft
— Raise patient safety standards
— Lower hospital liability and risk
— Streamline patient registration

In the podcast, our President Michael Trader provides answers and insight to the following questions:

1.  What advantages does biometric technology for patient ID offer over more traditional forms of identification?

2.  How can biometric patient identification systems prevent duplicate medical records and medical identity theft? What types of return on investment can a medical facility achieve by eliminating these two patient safety issues?

3.  How can biometric technology help hospitals improve data integrity and data interoperability across health information exchanges and integrated delivery networks?

4. What is the difference between one-to-many vs. one-to-one and one-to-few searches in biometrics and how does this affect a patient identification system?

5. What additional uses of biometric technology can be utilized in a hospital environment?

6. Has biometric technology been independently tested and certified and why should hospitals be concerned about this?

7. How fast can a hospital expect to receive search results with a biometric identification system?

Please take a few moments and listen to the podcast for more information on biometric patient identification systems and the distinct advantages they offer to healthcare facilities looking to augment patient safety initiatives, prevent duplicate medical records, and eliminate patient fraud. You can find a recording of the podcast by clicking on this link –

Thank you to Fred at HIT Consultant for the opportunity to educate healthcare professionals about using biometrics for patient identification!

New Podcast – Healthcare Data Integrity & Data Interoperability Standards – What Will the Future Hold?

M2SYS Technology provides a series of free podcasts on various topics. Their latest free podcast addresses healthcare data integrity and data interoperability standards across health information exchanges and integrated delivery networks.

M2SYS Healthcare Solutions presents a free podcast on healthcare data integrity and data interoperability standards.

We released a brand new free podcast this week that discusses how healthcare data integrity and data interoperability standards will be affected by the advent of health information exchanges (HIEs) and integrated delivery networks (IDNs). Joining us on the podcast as our guest was John Donnelly, President of NJ based IntePro Solutions, and an expert on healthcare information technology interoperability standards. John’s experience and knowledge of the topic is extensive, having served as a participant and adviser on several governmental and industry committees and boards. Plus, John is a renowned speaker on the subjects of healthcare technology standards, interoperability and innovation at annual regional healthcare conferences and an author in publications sponsored by the Healthcare Information Systems Society (HIMSS), the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), and the Medical Record Institute.

Here is a list of topics covered in the podcast:

  • Healthcare’s major challenges sharing data across HIEs
  • Changes to health systems strategic vision of quality healthcare
  • Impact of data visibility on patient-provider relationship
  • Patient identfiication’s affect on data integrity in HIEs and future technologies for patient identification in healthcare
  • HIEs effect on State privacy and security regulations
  • Most important HIE aspects for patient education

To listen or download an audio version of the podcast, please visit this link on our M2SYS Healthcare Solutions Patient Safety System Web site: Healthcare Data and Interoperability StandardsYou can also download a PowerPoint summary version of the podcast and follow along during the conversation.

The proliferation of HIEs and IDNs has opened the door to many questions about how to keep data clean, and how this data will be effectively shared across disparate networks. This podcast sheds light on what problems and issues that healthcare faces managing data plus some possible solutions and predictions on where the future of healthcare data integrity and interoperability standards will be.

We hope that you enjoy this podcast (approximately 35 minutes in length) and would like to especially thank John Donnelly for his time, expertise, and generous contributions to our ongoing podcast series. Stay tuned for our next podcast – details will be released on our M2SYS healthcare solutions site and this blog. If you have an idea for a podcast, please email

Don’t forget to listen in to our other podcast with Nancy Farrington discussing patient identification in healthcare.


Effective Communication Directly Linked to Quality Patient Care

A recent report suggests that effective and quality communication increases patient safety levels.

Effective communication leads to higher levels of patient safety

A new report released by Healthgrades suggests that hospitals with the highest patient ratings for physician and nursing communications on average have had fewer problems with patient safety issues. The report analyzed patient safety data for hospitalizations between 2008 and 2010 and found that quality communication among healthcare workers led to fewer surgical inpatient deaths with treatable complications among other preventable conditions. Key research findings in the report include:

  • 15% more overall patient safety events occurred in hospitals performing in the bottom 10% for physician communication, compared to those in the top 10%;
  • 27% more overall patient safety events occurred in hospitals performing in the bottom 10% for nursing communication, compared to the top 10;
  • 13% more patients at hospitals performing in the top 10% for patient satisfaction reported they received instructions on what to do when they left the hospital, compared to the bottom 10% — key guidance that underscores the importance of communication, according to the report.

Kristin Reed, vice president of clinical quality programs at HealthGrades and the author of the report said that hospitals need to improve on information extraction from patients and not assume that the absence of questions or responses means that someone fully understands everything they have been told.

The report analyzed approximately 40 million Medicare hospitalizations in 5,000 hospitals from 2008 to 2010. The analysis was conducted using a method developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to calculate event rates for 13 indicators of patient safety. Using this data as the basis for the report, Healthgrades estimates 254,000 patient safety events among Medicare patients could have been prevented, and 56,367 Medicare patients who died experienced one or more of these events.

Communication in healthcare is increasingly coming under the microscope from industry analysts and watchdogs as well as consumers themselves who have greater access to an explosion of information and data about the industry in addition to peer reviews and testimonials. It seems as if there has been a significant power shift from the industry to the consumer during the information age as transparency now rules and healthcare facilities are no longer able to mask their problems and sweep them under the rug. We applaud the patient safety movement and hope that more within the healthcare industry take notice and start to explore some of the new technological solutions available that directly impact the level of patient safety.

What’s your take? How have you observed patient safety initiatives having a direct impact on the quality of healthcare?

National Association of Healthcare Access Management Convention is this Week

NAHAM convention This week, National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) professionals from around the country will gather together at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina for their 38th annual conference. The dates of the meeting are 05/08 through 05/12 and the conference agenda appears to be packed full of educational seminars and learning labs centered around curriculum regarding revenue cycle management, patient access, communication, patient flow, medicare/medicaid management, and many more topics. This year’s theme is “Patient Access: The Helm of the Revenue Cycle,” an appropriate testament to the critical role of patient access healthcare professionals to help keep costs down and revenues strong.

NAHAM is the leading resource for managing successful patient access services and describes itself as:

“We establish best practices and subject matter expertise; provide an array of networking, education, and certification opportunities; and enable our members to influence and promote high quality delivery of Patient Access Services.”

The recent changes in healthcare reform have shone a brighter spotlight on administrative operations so for the past couple of years, patient access has increasingly come into focus as a vital and integral part of a medical facility’s fabric and a key spoke in keeping healthcare costs down. The shift to EHR in healthcare has thrust the role of patient access managers and other healthcare personnel as stewards of the initiative, and these folks remain on the forefront of the changes.

It’s a safe bet that the Exhibit Hall will be packed with technology vendors showcasing their solutions and meeting with NAHAM members to understand more about their needs and market direction. M2SYS will be among those in attendance at Booth #808 where we will be showing a live demo of our RightPatient biometric patient identification system featuring iris recognition. If you are attending the show, please stop by to see us!