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See why many of the world’s strongest brands chose Daon to help them build lasting trust with their customers.

Improving Patient Experiences with Identity Continuity

While a healthy outcome is the most important thing when people seek healthcare, for many, a positive patient experience can be nearly as important. Sadly, whether healthcare providers offer services in a competitive market or single-payer system, patient experience has often not been prioritized. Identity Continuity software can improve the patient experience.

One of the lingering effects of the pandemic, along with the pressure on healthcare organizations from continuing workforce shortages, physician burnout, and an ever-growing number of medical records, is a rise in consumerization on the part of patients. As NRC Health said, “People have grown accustomed to having everything come to them – a stream of easy, frictionless, right-to-my-door experiences has become the norm for many.” In its 2022 CX Trends report, Zendesk found that “61 percent of consumers say that their customer service expectations have increased over the past year.”

Patients now expect to have the same customer-oriented experiences from healthcare organizations that they receive from retail and other industries and actively compare their medical experiences against all those other experiences. Consumerization also means that patients expect to have more control over their healthcare. As Forbes wrote, “Patients are now less patient.” UBS Bank calls consumerization in healthcare “a disruptive force.”

Yet the traditional way of doing things in healthcare persists, frustrating patients.

We’ve all been there: sitting in the waiting room after finally getting an appointment, being asked to fill out forms again – after we’ve already completed them. Or, maybe our doctor refers us to a specialist, and when we get to that appointment, we have to start the identity verification process and everything that comes with how it’s traditionally conducted (paperwork; medical history questions we may or may not recall the answers to) all over again, all because the specialist’s office hasn’t received our medical records.

While it’s understandable that this has been healthcare best practice for years, meant to ensure that the right patient receives the right treatment, it still feels like a burden to today’s patients.

The EY Global Consumer Health Survey 2023 found that ease of using healthcare services was a leading consideration in how consumers perceived the value of their healthcare provider. An Accenture report, “Healthcare experience: the difference between loyalty and leaving,” cited difficulties in doing business, bad experiences with administrative staff, and inadequate ways to identify patients at appointments as factors that cause people to switch medical providers.

Many healthcare leaders understand the importance of creating a better patient experience. PwC reports that 71 percent of provider executives say patient experience is a top strategic priority over the next five years, and 81 percent of payer executives say their company is investing in technology to improve the patient experience.

The first step for many of these organizations is adopting digital solutions.

Patients Want Convenience, Not Concerns

From online portals that allow patients to make appointments, provide registration and other information at their convenience, see more accurate cost estimates, and make payments to digital healthcare identity verification systems that can reduce the in-office administrative burden, digital solutions are popular with both patients and providers.

For example, in its 2023 State of Patient Access study, Experian Health found that six in 10 providers say digital front door software enhances the patient experience, 72 percent of patients want online and mobile payment options, and 61 percent of patients say they’d consider switching healthcare providers to one that offers a digital identity patient portal.

It’s undeniable that patients want the convenience of online tools in their healthcare activities. To protect patients’ health records, the foundation of these digital experiences must be based on a trusted digital identity solution.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are an important step toward meeting these patient needs. Many countries are already in various stages of implementing an EHR program. For example,

Telehealth, which boomed during the pandemic, is another significant advancement in this direction. It can remove several obstacles that prevent patients from visiting the doctor’s office. And, AI-powered solutions can now provide on-demand help for patients who seek assistance for chronic conditions outside normal business hours. Digital solutions like these have been shown to improve patient outcomes.

However, while these technologies have numerous benefits, they also create regulatory and security challenges that can turn their positive effects on patient experience into negative ones.

The privacy of medical information is dictated by regulations around the world, including HIPAA in the U.S., PECHR in Australia, and GDPR in the EU. The information contained in digital medical records is highly extensive and personal and, even when stored in accordance with government regulations, acts as a main target for fraudsters.

The key weak point in healthcare security systems is most often the method patients use to identify themselves when they access digital services. Most accounts use passwords as the primary authentication factor for everything from account access to making appointments to updating personal information. In addition to the password, the user may be asked to provide a secondary form of authentication, like a security question or entering a one-time code (OTP, or one-time password) sent to their email or phone.

Unfortunately, these kinds of authentication systems are inadequate to protect our most sensitive information, and as new AI technologies emerge—especially those that can quickly gather information from the web—they become even less secure.

It’s not just the cybercriminals committing the fraud who create issues. It can also be the patients themselves. Even if they’re long and complex, passwords can typically be hacked in minutes or hours; while more complex passwords are recommended, they are also harder to remember, leading patients to reuse the same password on multiple accounts. If a password is compromised on an account that has the same password as one of a patient’s healthcare accounts, their data and your services are at imminent risk.

Combining Convenience and Security with Identity Continuity

Identity Continuity is an approach to creating trust with a patient across their entire healthcare journey. By leveraging a single identity record for each patient that spans all aspects of their healthcare experience, Identity Continuity allows everyone – from providers to administrators – to truly know their patients.

Ideally, healthcare Identity Continuity begins when a patient onboards their digital healthcare account (but it may begin with secure, biometric authentication, too). They are asked to provide a government-issued photo ID that proves who they are, as well as the biometric factor(s) they will use to gain access to their accounts and data in the future. While these factors can include a fingerprint, facial scan, or voice sample, the most secure onboarding involves matching a facial scan to the image on the user’s ID.

Identification document validation technology digitally verifies that the ID is authentic via multiple techniques, including the collection, analysis, and comparison of data from the ID document with both document standards and pre-existing information about the user found in a variety of government and third-party databases (watchlists).

An AI-powered healthcare biometrics platform extracts an encrypted template from the fingerprint, selfie, or voice sample, including only the information necessary to confirm a match during future authentications. After onboarding is complete, any time a patient needs to authenticate their identity, they simply take a selfie, speak, or place a finger on their device’s reader. This saves time and removes frustration for patients, medical staff, providers, and insurers.

Replacing password-based authentication with Identity Continuity software also increases security. Biometric factors are inherently more secure than passwords because they can’t be lost, stolen, or forgotten, making them immune to common fraud techniques like phishing or social engineering. Even if a user’s biometric template is stolen in a data breach and somehow decrypted, the biometric data contained within the template still cannot be reverse-engineered into the image or audio from which it was generated, i.e., no one can “steal” your face.

An AI-powered biometric platform also incorporates technologies to combat the AI-powered methods criminals use to commit identity fraud. Facial scans are checked for

Biometrics also streamline operations for the provider, reducing the burden on overstretched medical staff. They eliminate the possibility that tired staff will confuse patients, enable the correct patient records to be quickly and securely accessed from a single digital interface, and make it easy to verify a patient’s identity before performing a procedure or dispensing medicine to them.

Deliver the Healthcare Experiences that Patients and Staff Want

According to Fast Company, a recent study “found that the biggest challenge to delivering great customer experiences and meeting those expectations is that consumers are rapidly—and continually—raising them.

And yet, medical providers will face these increased expectations with short staff for the foreseeable future. Forbes wrote, “For 2024, providers will need to reconfigure processes and weed out inefficiencies to free up scarce resources for patient care.”

From physician’s offices to hospitals, insurers, pharmacies, and urgent care facilities, business as usual won’t cut it anymore in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Identity Continuity software streamlines processes and turns a series of siloed patient interactions into a single, seamless journey for patients and staff, adheres to the strictest regulations surrounding medical data and records, and reduces the opportunity for fraudsters to steal data or gain access to patient accounts and medical systems.

Explore how Daon’s Identity Continuity healthcare solutions can help your organization combine convenience and security for positive patient outcomes.