Imagine the population of Springfield, Illinois (116,500) dying every single year. That’s equivalent to the number of people who die annually as a result of identity or “wrong patient” errors.1
This devastating outcome is caused in large part by the difficulty healthcare providers have in accurately identifying and matching patient records. Sixty percent of preventable deaths are attributed to patient misidentification – much of that the result of duplicate records. According to a RAND Corporation report, on average, eight to 12 percent of the records of U. S. healthcare organizations are duplicates. For large systems, the duplicate rate soars to 16 percent.2
That means that up to one out of every seven patients at large healthcare provider have multiple records. Duplicate records can cause a host of patient and provider problems from inaccurate billing and claims denials, to redundant testing, incorrect diagnosis and treatment, and even, as the numbers show, to death. Duplicate records cost healthcare organizations nearly $96 each according to a research study conducted at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. The study also revealed that repeated tests or treatment delays added $1,100 to the cost of the patient’s care.3
The challenges of patient record identification and matching grow exponentially as EHR adoption becomes more prevalent. According to some estimates EHR implementation has reached nearly 95% making use of healthcare IT systems nearly universal.
Patient Safety has been a point of discussion for over a decade and has become more prominent over the past five years with the increasing shift to value-based care. Unfortunately, despite all the talk, not much has actually been done to address the issue. With the constant upheaval in the healthcare industry caused by the passage of the Affordable Care Act, emphasis on alternative reimbursement methods, and impending implementation of MACRA, organizations are finally beginning to act.
Many providers are using the Triple Aim model as a basis for making changes. Developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Triple Aim strives to improve the patient experience of care, improve the health of populations, and reduce the per capita cost of health care.
As with most problems, the solution to the patient identification and matching challenge lies with people, process, and technology. Standardized policies and procedures surrounding patient data acquisition and management carried out by dedicated, qualified professionals is an important step, but the real answer will likely come from the implementation of advanced technology.
Multiple legacy systems, each limited in functionality and walled off in siloed departments, can’t solve the problem. Neither will system constraints that make patient engagement complex and difficult. IT groups will not be able to solve the problem without the proper tools. The only way to effectively integrate the multiple systems being used for collecting data from clinical, financial, research, and specialty services is through use of a next generation Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI).
An advanced EMPI provides sophisticated tools and matching algorithms that enable healthcare organizations to address the difficulties of trying to gain a single, complete, accurate picture of their patients.
Here are four ways a next gen EMPI can meet the challenges of patient identification and matching.
1. Breaks Down Silos
Overall, the growing adoption of technology in the healthcare industry has been a positive, but it has one significant downside. As organizations increase the use of technology they tend to add new systems and applications, many of which can’t communicate with each other. As a result, most organizations employ multiple systems to collect data for clinical, financial, research and specialty purposes. This makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the quality, accuracy, and consistency of their data.
EMR/EHR systems and other solutions may be the central technology anchor in your organization, but core provider functionality is limited to that system alone so information silos are always going to exist. In addition to the EMR, you may have separate systems for advanced surgery, cardiology, and wound care that aren’t easy to replace These solutions are often working effectively so you want to continue to use them.
Advanced EMPI- also referred to as Master Data Management (MDM) in non-healthcare settings - is the key enabling technology for you to take control of your data. An advanced EMPI system integrates the data from these disparate systems and forms an overarching technology umbrella. An advanced EMPI resolves and synchronizes data issues and provides a single patient view that can be accessed across the enterprise.
An Advanced EMPI provides a modern, next generation solution that allows you to expand your central control beyond your core vendor solution and bridge into your other siloed systems. It resolves data quality issues and synchronizes back to enable accurate patient identification and matching and minimizes duplicate records.
No matter what the silo, data type, or data model, an advanced EMPI offers a truly agnostic solution. The many savvy, forward-looking academic medical centers that have moved into MDM realize the enormous benefits of synchronizing their patient data in this way.
2. Provides Advanced Technology
Legacy EMPI’s and mega-vendor EHR’s claim to be able to resolve data issues but if they could, data quality, patient identification and matching, and duplicate records would not be the problem they are today. Most vendor solutions are systems developed nearly two decades ago and they struggle to resolve data issues because of the amount of processing that needs to be done.
An advanced EMPI’s offer truly modern capability and high speed processing that better address the computing needs necessary to synchronize patient data. By providing advanced matching algorithms, relationships, and hierarchies, an advanced EMPI provides true interoperability among your various systems.
Synchronizing large volume of patient data that needs to be loaded, matched and merged requires an enormous amount of computing power. Legacy systems will bog down under the weight of such an operation. An advanced EMPI can easily handle the processing job required, significantly improving performance. It allows you to verify, standardize, and enrich patient information across your various internal systems and external reference sources to ensure consistent high quality real-time patient data management.
The advanced technology of a next gen EMPI also provides an opportunity to mine patient data to obtain more accurate patient and consumption insight and analytics from the data warehouse.
Your technology platform will likely continue to expand as you strive to meet the growing demands of population health, Triple Aim, and healthcare reform. The collaborative data model of an advanced EMPI is a scalable solution that will grow to help meet those needs.
3. Enhances Patient Engagement
Not reaching out to the right patient can have tangible negative impact involving both patient safety and costs. Mismatched patient records make population health difficult and can cause significant care issues. The Dallas Children’s Medical Center study showed that four out of every 100 cases involving duplicate records negatively impacted clinical care.4
An advanced EMPI ensures that you can arm your clinicians with complete information at the point of care and across multiple care settings. This improves communication among providers and patients and leads to better coordinated care.
To meet the goals of Triple Aim - enhanced patient care experience, improved population health, and reduced costs – clinicians need a comprehensive, all-inclusive, single view of each patient. An advanced EMPI eliminates the problem of multiple patient instances resulting from numerous system databases.
Consolidating patient records into a single view is not only instrumental to patient safety, but it also reduces the cost of outreach since you won’t be sending and tracking multiple communications to the same patient.
Maintaining tight control over records and patient interaction documentation also helps improve reimbursement, a key to optimizing an organization’s revenue cycle.
4. Reduces Use of IT Resources
Organizations can address patient identification and matching issues with a legacy EMPI, but doing so requires reliance on vendor services that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. An advanced EMPI is built on a modern framework that enables quick implementation and empowers self-service management that eliminates high vendor service costs.
A next generation EMPI offers several advantages that make life easier for your IT staff. It simplifies implementation and maintenance and makes data management easier. Adding new data sources is easier than with a legacy EMPI and helps ensure that your databases stay current.
An advanced EMPI automates matching and merging of duplicate records into a golden record and distribution back to source systems. This is an area where the mega-vendor systems consistently fall short. They can clean data within their own siloed databases but struggle to break through and synchronize with other systems in the organization.
Relying on a vendor to manage legacy systems can result in high service costs. An advanced EMPI minimizes those costs by empowering your in-house staff to handle many management tasks that historically you’ve had to pay vendors to perform.
An advanced EMPI can be implemented in an on premises or cloud-based infrastructure, which can further reduce costs by minimizing the need for hardware and internal management.
The VisionWare Difference
VisionWare is a leading provider of Patient Identification and Matching Solution, Provider Directory and Master Data Management solutions to the healthcare, public sector and financial services market. Our technology enables organizations to break down data silos by creating a single, complete view of any data entity across the enterprise.
Enabling this ‘single view of the truth’ is an essential prerequisite to leverage the benefits of a data driven business, including improved customer engagement and operational efficiency, as well as reduced reputational and regulatory risk. Analysts like Gartner have recognized the VisionWare solution as one of the most cost effective solutions on the market.
Organizations without an EMPI or those laboring with outdated and costly legacy EMPI systems will struggle to meet the increasing demands for better patient care at reduced cost. A next generation EMPI helps deliver patient safety, better readmissions management, enhanced patient engagement, and improved communications between providers and patients to effectively coordinate care. Deploying an advanced EMPI is the most effective way to meet the challenges of the changing healthcare landscape. Management solutions to the healthcare, public sector and financial services market. Our technology enables organizations to break down data silos by creating a single, complete view of any data entity across the enterprise.
To find out more about the challenges and opportunities involved in establishing a single view of the patient, watch our free webinar: Maury Regional Medical Center: A Case Study in Creating the 'Golden Record'.
1 Why Patient Matching Is a Challenge: Research on Master Patient Index (MPI) Data Discrepancies in Key Identifying Fields, by Beth Haenke Just MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA; David Marc, MBS, CHDA; Megan Munns, RHIA; and Ryan Sandefer, MA, CPHIT, Perspectives in Health Information Management, AHIMA Foundation, Spring 2016.
2 Identity Crisis: An Examination of the Costs and Benefi ts of a Unique Patient Identifi er for the U. S. Healthcare System, by Richard Hillestad, James H. Bigelow, Basit Chaudry, Paul Dreyer, Michael D. Greenberg, Robin C. Meili, M. Susan Ridgely, Jeff Rothenberg, and Roger Taylor, RAND Corp., 2008.
3 Why Patient Matching Is a Challenge: Research on Master Patient Index (MPI) Data Discrepancies in Key Identifying Fields, by Beth Haenke Just MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA; David Marc, MBS, CHDA; Megan Munns, RHIA; and Ryan Sandefer, MA, CPHIT, Perspectives in Health Information Management, AHIMA Foundation, Spring 2016.
4 Why Patient Matching Is a Challenge: Research on Master Patient Index (MPI) Data Discrepancies in Key Identifying Fields, by Beth Haenke Just MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA; David Marc, MBS, CHDA; Megan Munns, RHIA; and Ryan Sandefer, MA, CPHIT, Perspectives in HealthInformation Management, AHIMA Foundation, Spring 2016.