How to increase patient safety & protect patient identities

RightPatient Case Study: Terrebonne General Medical Center

In South Louisiana, deep in the heart of the Cajun culture, a lot of people have the same last name. Many of those people also share the same date of birth and even have social security numbers that are similar. So, when it comes to healthcare, identifying patients can be pretty challenging.


How has TGMC been doing it so effectively?

Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) serves a vast population with over 10 million medical records in its system. Previously, they had issues creating duplicate medical records because so many patients share common names and other attributes. However, according to John Sonnier, patient access manager for TGMC, the situation became much more manageable when he discovered RightPatient. John saw that the RightPatient platform was the ideal solution to accurately identify patients, thereby preventing the risk of creating duplicate medical records.

Before RightPatient was implemented, the hospital would ask patients for their name, date of birth, social security number, address, or other identifying attributes. However, once RightPatient was deployed and patients were enrolled in the system, patient identification became quick and simple.


The process is simple

RightPatient is seamlessly integrated into the TGMC electronic health record (EHR) system from Epic. During patient encounters, the platform captures a picture of the patient and processes it through a cloud-based biometric search engine. If the patient had been previously enrolled, RightPatient automatically retrieves the patient’s medical record within Epic.

Mr. Sonnier also emphasized the fact that RightPatient is easy-to-use and has a fast response time, searching through 10 million records and retrieving the correct one within 2 seconds.

“And so the patient, the next time they come in, you don’t even have to ask anything. You just greet them and take their picture, and their medical record comes up, and then we know what they’re here for.” – John Sonnier


RightPatient ensures patient safety

Mr. Sonnier also stressed the important role that RightPatient plays in helping to improve patient safety for TGMC patients. Duplicate medical records are a huge risk to patient safety because they scatter important clinical information across multiple records. By preventing duplicate records, RightPatient ensures that patient data is retained in a single record so clinicians can have a holistic view of a patient’s health information.

According to Phyllis Peoples, president, and CEO of TGMC, without RightPatient, the hospital would struggle with duplicate medical records, which can affect the quality of care. For example, admitting a patient under a different name can cause information redundancies, billing issues, and patient safety risks. RightPatient delivers a lot of value for TGMC by preventing these issues on the front-end of the process.


It is convenient for patients?

Mr. Sonnier also commented on how RightPatient helps to improve the patient experience. When patients arrive, they simply take their picture as the first step in the process – no need to fumble for an ID and wait for the verification process to finish. RightPatient accurately identifies the patient and retrieves the correct medical record within seconds, making the process safe, convenient, and efficient for patients and staff members.

“So, it’s a timesaver, because you don’t have to have that patient produce information to prove who they are.” – John Sonnier


It works seamlessly with Epic

RightPatient is a seamless part of the Epic EHR system workflows for TGMC users. This makes it easy and natural for users to utilize the technology, without having to toggle back and forth between separate applications. In addition, RightPatient simultaneously captures high-quality iris and face images, and automatically pushes the patient photos into the Epic medical records.

What’s exceptional, according to Mr. Sonnier, is that the camera utilized with RightPatient even provides audio cues that assist patients with capturing their photos. In addition to being a contactless and hygienic experience, iris patterns are fully formed by 12 months of age and remain stable over a patient’s lifetime.

“So, if you take the picture when they’re two, then they come back five years later, it’ll still be able to identify that one patient from the iris that they have.”  – John Sonnier


What makes RightPatient so valuable?

The RightPatient biometric patient identification platform ensures that patients are accurately identified during encounters. This prevents duplicate and overlays medical records, as well as fraud and medical identity theft, ensuring that TGMC clinicians always have access to complete and correct medical records for their patients. This information allows clinicians to provide the highest level of quality and care. In addition, TGMC avoids the costs associated with billing issues linked to patient identification mistakes and internal resources that would otherwise have to correct medical record errors.

“The biggest benefit is patient safety.”  – Phyllis Peoples


Case Study Video