Approximately 1.5 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year, a crime that costs the nation $41.3 billion annually. Prescription fraud is a growing form of medical identity theft that is not only extremely costly and time-consuming; it can also put your health at risk and even be life-threatening. Unfortunately, medical identity theft isn't commonly known by many Americans, and often isn't detected until it's too late. When we don't take precautions to prevent prescription fraud and other forms of medical identity theft, we put ourselves in jeopardy of becoming another victim.
<b>What is Prescription Fraud?</b>
Prescription fraud occurs when identity thieves use your personal information to fill prescriptions in your name. They use your medical identity to receive medical treatment at hospitals and doctors' offices, obtain medications, and access other healthcare services.
Prescription fraud doesn't just leave you with a huge bill-it can potentially put your health at risk as well. You may find that false information has been added to your personal health record, such as a change in blood type or supposed allergies. Every medical procedure received and prescription filled by the identity thief becomes part of your medical history, which means you may not be able to obtain the life-saving treatment you need in an emergency medical situation.
Detecting and resolving medical identity theft can be difficult as well. You may not discover that you're a victim until a pharmacy refuses to fill a prescription because it conflicts with another medication you appear to be taking. To make matters worse, fixing errors in your record can be very challenging due to medical privacy laws. Ironically, the same laws that were implemented to protect your privacy and health information are now protecting the medical identity thief. This restricted access to medical records prolongs the duration of the theft, costing you countless time, money, and frustration.
<b>How to Prevent Prescription Fraud</b>
One of the easiest ways to avoid this type of medical identity theft is simply to be aware of what you throw in the trash. Prescription medication labels carry such sensitive information as your full name and address, the prescribing physician, the type of medication, prescription number, and the pharmacy's contact information-all of the things a thief needs to perform prescription fraud. Instead of throwing empty prescription bottles in the trash, including the drug information forms, remove the labels and shred them. Other ways to prevent prescription fraud:
• Review every explanation of benefits (EOB). Examine the charges for medical visits or prescriptions you didn't receive, and report any suspicious activity immediately.
• Never simply toss medical information in the trash. Dumpster divers can easily access your personal information if you fail to shred the documents.
• Secure medical records. Keep your medical records in a safe place inside your home or in a safe deposit box, away from the prying eyes of visitors. Believe it or not, friends and relatives who have easy access to your personal information are often the culprits.
• Safeguard prescription bottles. Hide or lock-up your medication rather than leaving it in plain sight or in a medicine cabinet. This will prevent anyone from walking off with your prescription medication and, later, your identity.
• Manage written prescription slips. Don't throw them away or leave them out where they can be stolen. These slips are all an identity thief needs to fill a prescription in your name, leave you without your medication, steal your medical identity, and even put your life in danger.
• Enlist the help of an identity theft protection service such as ID Theft Solutions, which can proactively help prevent medical identity theft and even restore your identity when it's stolen.
As far as medical interpretation is concerned, one may assume it's just hearing and interpreting a word into another language that is required, no, the medical field is too technical when it comes to providing interpretation services for doctors and patients because it's all about dealing with lives and the health of individuals. There is too much care needed when interpreting medical jargons, terminologies into a target language.
The Major Causes of Medical Errors
Let's see and discuss the major causes of medical errors during the interpretations by the medical interpreters.
Cultural beliefs and tradition; most cultures are too complicated which impacts medical service delivery in such communities, so to deliver medical services in such a community you must ensure you get medical translators and interpreters who can abide by the cultural beliefs and rules in that community because they will be knowing how to deal with their cultural beliefs. Some culture and beliefs do not allow females to conduct speeches in public; when operating a medical clinic in a particular community, you must get to know how their cultural beliefs and norm are such that it becomes easier to provide interpreting services, failure to do that you may make mistakes that may end up causing medical errors in the medical interpretation.
Using family members as translators and interpreters, this is also too dangerous, due to fear of paying for professional medical interpreters or translators, medical services providers may resort to using the patient's family members or the patient's caretakers who may be fluent in English to provide medical interpretation, as we all know that being fluent in English is not enough for somebody to be a medical translator of interpreter, because of the technicality of medical terminologies, a caretaker can't accurately interpret medical terminologies due to lack of knowledge about it, let's assume you have no knowledge in the medical field, and you are given to interpret, the doctor mentions a statement that you've never heard of in life, can you manage to understand that statement and interpret into a layman language?
Use of clinicians who have the basic foreign language skills to communicate with patients and doctors instead of qualified medical interpreters, medical services providers might resort to use of clinician who may have a little knowledge in a particular language understood by the patient. Medical interpretations need fluent native speaking medical interpreters and translators of the respective language so as to be accurate, but because a clinician who is a Japanese speaker knows some little French is given to act as an interpreter between the doctor and the French-speaking patient, there is no way that interpretation will be free from misinterpretation of some words.
Areas where medical errors may occur
Medical errors are always common in medical areas like;
• Admission forms
• Patient discharge reports
• Medical reconciliation
• Emergency department visits and surgical care
Possible ways to avoid medical errors in medical interpretation
To avoid medical errors, medical service providers should focus on strengthening professional medical interpretation services, doctors and patients should be able to communicate and understand each other, they should also provide already translated materials in several foreign languages for the targeted users, cultural awareness and advocacy, improving medical staff training and etc.
The use of the patient's specific identity, this will help to ensure that the medical interpreter is given the right medical information for the respective patient for interpretation. If any mistake happens that different information about the medical prescriptions is interpreted for a different patient, medical errors have to occur; hence the medical history of the patient bearing the name of the patient, admission date, is necessary since it includes the medicine prescribed for the patient.
Medical Assistant Career - Opening doors to a profession in healthcare services.
Medical Assistant careers are gathering demand in the background of a healthcare industry boom worldwide.
A Medical Assistant essentially is a healthcare professional with multiple responsibilities and skill sets required to execute the same. Both administrative and medical tasks that do not need much medical proficiency fall into the ambit of a Medical Assistant.
Medical Assistants are indispensable in any modern day healthcare practice. Engaged under physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. Medical Assistants attend to the complexities involved in delivering medical services.
By accomplishing administrative and other responsibilities, Medical Assistants make it easier for the practitioners to concentrate on attending to and treating patients.
Medical Assistants execute varied administrative, laboratory and clinical tasks in different health care institutions.
Often, Medical Assistants are seen as generalists who are involved with many aspects of the medical profession but do not specialize in them.
A detailed overview of the activities of a Medical Assistant is given here:
General administration which includes day-to-day activities and other tasks. These include:
Communication - both internal and external and office correspondence.
Patient welfare - maintenance of patient records, insurance forms, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission.
Billing and bookkeeping.
Maintain medical and drug supplies.
Clinical duties require discreet manual dexterity and visual acuity. A Medical Assistant has to support the medical practitioner with the following:
Recording vital signs.
Preparing patients for examination, explaining treatment procedures to patients.
Assisting the physician during the examination.
Instructing patients about medications and special diets.
Preparation and administration of medications.
Laboratory tasks include:
Collection and preparation of laboratory specimens.
Performing basic laboratory tests on the premises.
Draw blood, prepare patients for X-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures and change dressings.
Disposal of contaminated supplies and sterilization of medical instruments.
Medical Assistants employed at small medical outfits may undertake both administrative and clinical duties and report directly to the office manager or health practitioner.
Larger medical outfits have Medical Assistants reporting to department administrators and specializing only in a particular area.
Medical Assistant - Essential qualities and skills:
Duties entailed in medical assisting vary with the type of health care facility, size, location and specialisation.
A pleasant disposition is a must as Medical Assistants constantly interact with patients and public. Courteous manners, a well groomed personality and an aptitude for making people feel at ease are essential.
Simple medical and clinical skills and administrative abilities are integral to the profile of a Medical Assistant.
Traditionally, Medical Assistants did not need to be certified as they learnt on the job. This scenario has changed and contemporary medical practices prefer trained and certified Medical Assistant professionals to untrained individuals.
Medical Assistant Training and Certification:
Healthcare industry is increasingly in favour of trained Medical Assistants. The need for technically sound personnel who have the flexibility of handling both clinical and administrative tasks is on the rise. The trend is an offshoot of the need felt by doctors to concentrate on treating patients rather than on other functional details.
Certification is a mark of the individual having been trained and qualified in the profession.
A Medical Assistant certificate stands as a certainty of successful training. Also, securing a Medical Assistant certificate assures higher professional satisfaction and recognition. Compared to uncertified individuals, the formal education and the Medical Assistant certificate help them in advance faster in their profession.
The Medical Assistant certificate can be secured by both experienced and inexperienced individuals. Experienced professionals may not have to take a certification exam. Inexperienced candidates though will have to undergo rigorous training from an accredited vocational training institution.
Medical Assistant certification or registration will put the individual a step ahead from counterparts.
Medical Assistant registration and certification are the same. It's just that different certifying bodies have different terms for referring to a Medical Assistant cerificate.
With many Medical Assistant schools mushrooming in the market, it is important that one acquires education and secures Medical Assistant registration from a reputed and reliable source.