By Gordon Cooper
Data in all industries have been diverging and multiplying for the past several decades, to the extent that we've reached a tipping point—where the process of managing data for large, complex organizations has become unmanageable through traditional databases, tools, and management processes. This is especially true in the healthcare industry.
The good news is, advanced Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) solutions—also referred to as Master Data Management (MDM) in non-healthcare settings–have finally matured to the point of being able to manage this data explosion. Advanced technology, along with the proper data stewardship and analysis, has the capacity to combat the complexity that has harmed the integrity of our most important databases.
In a hospital, the ER, billing, admissions, and patient records departments will all have different pieces of information, on the same patient, based on the various touchpoints. What results is fragmented, disparate and duplicate information across the organization. In fact, between 8 and 12 percent of hospitals' medical records are duplicates.
The financial cost of duplicate records is high; a study of one hospital in Texas showed that duplicates made up 22 percent (250,000) of its records, and that each of those records was costing the hospital more than $96. With these alarming statistics, it’s critical that hospitals examine the various ways duplicate records are hurting the bottom line, and decide how to reign in the problem.
Duplicate records impact quality of care as well, as they can result in repeated tests as well as medication and diagnostic errors. Studies have shown that four of every 100 cases involving duplicate records have a negative care impact, and that more than 100,000 people die annually because of identity or "wrong patient" errors.
To minimize these costs and pitfalls, a next-generation EMPI solution—one that provides a 360-degree, “golden view” of the citizen—is essential. To meet the goals of the Triple Aim—enhanced patient care experience, improved population health, and reduced costs—clinicians need an all-inclusive and singular view of each and every patient. To accomplish this, hospitals need a solution that offers truly modern capability and high-speed processing and has the computing horsepower necessary to synchronize patient data.