How Faster Authentication and Auto-logouts Help Patient Care
In the field of medical care, efficiency and efficacy are paramount. Patients need to receive the very best care promptly — something which will, in turn, reduce costs and improve satisfaction. But this is difficult, especially in these demanding times.
Giving care providers a means to quickly and securely login to workstations and software platforms is an integral part. With authentication solutions and auto-logouts improving the efficiency, security, and accountability of software and hardware usage, hospitals and care facilities are achieving more for patients across a range of different metrics.
Patient Waiting Time
Patient waiting time — or how long it takes to schedule a non-emergency appointment with a physician — is an area of controversy in the healthcare field. A study from 2017 found that it takes an average of 24 days to secure a first-time hospital appointment in urban areas across the United States — a growth of 30% on figures from three years previously. It is imperative to minimize patient waiting time.
There are many contributing factors to high wait times. But in many cases, a series of small inefficiencies build up to create a disorganized and ineffective working environment. Lost passwords and slow logins make it challenging to schedule appointments and accept patients swiftly and efficiently. This can be combatted with the right approach to authentication solutions.
ER Waiting Time
The same problem is also found in emergency room wait times, but here the issue is even more acute. When visiting the ER, patients need to be seen and treated quickly. If this is not achieved, their well-being suffers, and in some cases, their lives may even be at risk. Reducing ER waiting time is a priority for healthcare organizations.
The median wait time for an ER patient across the 50 states was 103 minutes in 2020. While, on average, patients were seen by a nurse or physician within 15 minutes of checking into the ER, they were still left waiting over an hour and a half for a hospital room. In California, Maryland, New York, and Delaware, this rose to over 150 minutes, while the District of Columbia had an average wait time of 286 minutes.
In the ER, minutes — and even seconds — count. This is why proximity access tokens that shave valuable seconds of each log-in event have such an important role to play. Log-ins are achieved without delay, and then the terminal is auto-locked after use to prevent unauthorized access in a busy environment.
Medical equipment is incredibly sophisticated, and as such, it is also incredibly expensive. Low-field MRI machines can set hospitals back between $150,000 and $1.2 million, while the highest field MRI machines will cost up to $3 million. This is just one example from a wide range of different equipment pieces. Everything from workstation terminals to medical instruments will need to be costed and paid for.
This makes equipment efficiency an important KPI for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Management teams need to know that they are getting the very best out of their equipment, maximizing the return on investment. While authentication solutions are certainly useful in making log-in and secure access easy and straightforward, their potential goes far beyond this. Managed from a centralized software platform, equipment access, and usage can be monitored to improve efficiency and ensure optimal leveraging of the equipment’s capabilities.
Average Length of Hospital Stay
The average length of hospital stay is a difficult metric to analyze. But it does represent an important KPI for medical facilities. In the main, hospital stay durations are falling each year, from an average of seven days in 1993 to 5.4 days in 2009. Over the last ten years, durations have stabilized, climbing to 5.5 days in 2014 before falling again to 5.4 by 2019.
The reason average stay durations are difficult to analyze is that different patient cases require different treatment lengths. Management teams will need to apply this KPI thoughtfully, examining average treatment durations for each separate category of care. From here, the average duration can be reduced with a more efficient system of authentication and workstation autolocking. For example, proximity-based tokens and PIN codes. Management will also be able to use the centralized platform to monitor care and to examine how this is being delivered.
Average Patient Treatment Cost
Like stay duration, the average treatment cost is another difficult-to-analyze metric. Specific treatment courses have specific cost profiles, varying greatly depending on the type and duration of the care being delivered. Data from the COVID-19 pandemic shows us that the average cost of treatment for COVID patients between 21 and 40 years old was $51,389, rising to almost $78,570 for patients between the ages of 41 and 60, suggesting significant disparities in care costs across different age groups.
Hospital teams need to be able to provide the very best levels of care at the right price point. This means optimizing services to reduce the cost incurred by the medical facility. In turn, this reduces the cost that is passed onto the patient or payer. Again, swift and secure authentication, supported by a combination of manual and automated monitoring protocols, supports this.
Room Turnover Speed
Operational efficiency is not limited to patient care itself. Care teams also need to be able to optimize room and bed turnover times, readying the space so that the next patient can be admitted. Achieving this with the right speed also reduces wait times for patients yet to be processed.
During room and bed turnover, a methodical checklist of actions must be adhered to. Hospital teams need to ensure that all required tasks are completed with the appropriate levels of care and effectiveness, and personnel will often need to record this digitally to ensure protocols are being followed. Without the right authentication solutions, this puts care facilities at a disadvantage. Care teams cannot afford to compromise between timely bed turnover rates and following best practices. This is why quick and secure authentication is a must in healthcare.
Patient Follow-up Speed
Care will need to continue even after a patient has left the facility. This makes patient follow-up speed an essential metric for care providers seeking to offer the best experience possible for patients.
By drawing upon patient data, hospital teams can ensure that relevant follow-up communications are delivered with speed and accuracy. As data volumes increase, medical facilities have a growing responsibility to safeguard the security of this data with solutions such as automatic locking of workstations and the monitoring of software usage.
Patient Satisfaction Level
It is difficult to assess average patient satisfaction levels in the United States, as many hospitals and facilities choose not to publish data from their own patients. However, this is a crucial metric that hospitals need to measure. Patient satisfaction can easily be improved with faster response times and shorter stays.
Perhaps the two most important factors in patient satisfaction — treatment quality and treatment speed — can both be optimized with authentication solutions. Ensuring that the right persons have access to the right data via remote authentication improves the patient’s experience. Imagine a doctor getting locked out in front of a patient that urgently needs care. What if a doctor forgets their password? Every second wasted trying to access the EHR program is time that patients could be cared for. The more a patient has to wait for care, they will become exponentially more aggravated. Prevent wasted time.
In California, it a nurse-to-patient ratio of 1-to-5 is mandatory. While the majority of the US states do not impose a legal minimum ratio, this 1-to-5 represents a best practice that many care facilities try to adhere to nationwide. The right solution can replace the expensive costs of having people deal with tedious IT tasks. This reduces the staff and costs needed to maintain systems for caregivers, making each person more efficient.
While authentication solutions cannot directly increase the number of available staff, these solutions do make work easier and more efficient for caregivers in the field. Being able to login to care systems remotely and securely enables staff members to optimize patient care quality. This helps reduce clinician burnout and reduce wasted time.
Learn More About Implementing Authentication Solutions at Your Healthcare Facility
At GateKeeper Enterprise, our crack engineers have a strong track record in optimizing healthcare facilities with the right solutions. Doctors and nurses need faster 2FA access to workstations and EHR programs without hassle. Reach out to our team, book a demo, and discover more about how these solutions will work for you. Save hundreds of hours a year in clinician time. Super-fast login speed for clinicians.