An Apple A Day: Everyday Applications for ID Card Systems in Healthcare

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Healthcare professionals perform a balancing act everyday. More demands on their time, more hats to wear, and in economically challenging times they are more often doing it all for less compensation.

Technological advances make their jobs easier, however with that ease comes a new set of challenging circumstances. As facilities move towards electronic file keeping, so increases the possibility of security breaches. A recent study indicates 1.5 million Americans have been victims of medical identity theft costing over $28.6 billion in damages. It's become enough of a threat that the government allocated $1.7 billion for its prevention in the U.S. Health and Human Services annual budget.

Motivation may be high to commit medical identity theft, but federal mandates are now more stringent to deter this costly crime. The HITECH Act enacted weightier consequences including steep fines for those that violate privacy protection laws, as well as a wider definition of what information is protected, and who is responsible for protecting it.

What this means to the healthcare industry is convenient data housing but with increased accountability to manage that information, and prevent it from being compromised.

A key component in the prevention of security breaches and overall safety is an ID card system. Medical facilities are not limited to employees. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of patients, visitors and vendors stream through their doors every day posing countless opportunities for sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands. Identifying who is in the building at all times, and for what purpose, reduces the security risk and puts everyone at ease, so the focus becomes exceptional care and service - not hall monitoring. Let an ID card system do that for you.

Ultimately what you're looking for in an ID card system is value - manageable up front cost on a system that delivers on safety. When looking for an ID card system consider:

Who Will Be Using the System?

Employees, visitors and patients must all be accounted for in a hospital or medical center. Benchmarks of a reputable facility are personalized service, quality care and convenient access. Patients want to know they will not be a number, but cared for compassionately and competently, especially at a time when they are most vulnerable. Visitors should only have access to a single point of entry and be required to sign in and wear a name tag as long as they are on the premises. Employees need to be indentified at all times by wearing a photo ID listing their title, along with a proximity device that may serve as a time, parking structure, building or room access card.

What Features Do You Need?

Proximity cards grant access, but they can easily be turned into a photo ID with the right software, a digital camera and a card printer. Instead of asking employees to carry multiple cards, a plastic overlay adheres to an existing proximity or HID device for a multi-purpose ID card in minutes. Employee turnover is not an issue since the overlay can be removed without having to reprogram the proximity card as staff changes.

Depending how much function and security you need on an ID card, you'll want to decide between a dual or single-sided printer. The advantage of having dual-sided printing capabilities is a higher functioning, more secure card. You'll be able to include more text, a bar code or magnetic stripe in addition to a photo ID. Field upgrades are available for some single-sided printers to conveniently transform a single-sided printer into a dual-sided printer with a one-time ribbon upgrade.

ID card software allows you to set off an employee's title or credentials in the design phase with the use of conditional display options. You choose and load through a database which fields need to be displayed on the finished product. Image preview allows you to see exactly what the ID will look like before you print it so there are no surprises.

Bar codes and magnetic stripes add security to any ID card, and they also allow for more data storage. In practice, a photo ID with a programmable magnetic stripe could be swiped through a reader for cafeteria debit services, lab access or for calling up basic patient information.

Since it's crucial for badges to be worn at all times, another challenge becomes how you'll wear it. Inexpensive strap clips are widely used in medical fields because they are not magnetized and easily attach to clothing. Other display options include adjustable armband badge holders and twist-free badge reels that keep your ID visible but out of your way.

How Much Can You Spend?

According to an American Hospital Association study, there are 5,815 registered U.S. hospitals with annual expenses of over $690 billion. This does not include the thousands of medical centers and private practices in operation. This may be a staggering number, but consider these hospitals serve over 290 million people nationwide on a daily basis with trained staff, expensive equipment and costly treatments. And hospitals aren't the only ones incurring costs. Hospital charges represent about a third of our total healthcare spending - $718 billion altogether, according to a Forbes study.

If your organization operates as a non-profit or depends on government funding your budget is stretched as it is. You'll need to invest in an all-inclusive ID card system that can be tailored to your situation. Any high quality ID card system worth the investment includes intuitive software and a printer ribbon to get you started right out of the box. Other options include a high resolution digital camera, blank plastic ID card stock and a cloth backdrop for consistent image capture. Plus a printer warranty should you have any technical issues.

An ID Maker system from IDville contains all these components in one convenient package starting as low as $1499. With that investment also comes over ten years in the identification industry and free, lifetime technical support.

Look for an ID card system ready to use that does not require excessive setup, and an available, knowledgeable technical support team. You'll be glad you did when you make a tech support call and the voice on the other end is helpful, friendly and live.

The Latest Applications in the Industry

The use of an ID card system extends beyond traditional identification and access capabilities. The California HealthCare Foundation reports adoption of patient kiosks is on the rise. Hospitals are implementing these self-service stations to expedite outpatient and emergency room check-in; however the practical applications include very routine tasks such as insurance verification or patient education. The capabilities of a patient kiosk depend on budget, but also technologies a hospital or medical center is willing to put into practice.

The Medical Group Management Association is calling for the adoption of swipe card technology which it says could save the industry $1 billion a year. Using patient ID cards with magnetic stripes enables a healthcare professional to call up valuable information in seconds by using a card reader. Instead of time-consuming photocopies of each individual's insurance card, this technology cuts the time a patient must take to identify him or herself to a provider. There are also claim adjudication applications, as well as the ability to generate information on benefits and co-pays with a swipe of a card.

Patients look for three things when choosing their healthcare facility: personalized service, quality care and convenient access. Create an exceptional customer service experience for patients and staff by implementing a secure ID card system.

IDville's team of software engineers have been at it for over 20 years bringing you the world's best printing and publishing solutions. Our ID Maker software represents years of listening to our customers' needs and is a tool you will find powerful yet intuitive and easy to operate. The IDville team of technical support staff and customer service representatives is knowledgeable and they are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet over the phone.

Our team has been meeting your ID needs for almost a decade, whether you're in the healthcare industry, government sector or education field, we've got what you need to increase security through identification. Give us a call today at (866) 438-4553 or email us at service@IDville.com, we're always ready and willing to help.