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The Critical Role of the EMPI for Population Health Strategies

By Gordon Cooper, Founder and CEO of VisionWare and Christie Scanlon, Healthcare Cost Consultant, Scanlon Enterprises, LLC

As health systems pursue initiatives in population health, fueled by value-based payment programs, success depends on high-quality data that informs hospitals about the cost and quality of care. Data quality is now more important than ever. With a comprehensive view of clinical, financial and operational data, health systems can effectively analyze their performance, plan new strategies, and implement effective, proactive programs.

An effectively implemented enterprise master patient index (EMPI) system results in clean, high-quality patient data and presents a ‘golden view’ of each patient that is both comprehensive and accurate. The resulting patient data is a composite of all relevant data from every touchpoint across the entire health system. A robust, next-generation EMPI solution delivers that ‘golden view’ to clinicians, administrators, and executives, and does so quickly, with a unique approach to rapid implementation.

Benefits for High-Value Care

The benefits of next-generation EMPI will be felt in virtually every aspect of a health system’s population health initiatives—reducing cost, improving quality, and enabling effective operational management. Examples abound; let’s look at just a few illustrations of those benefits:

  • Reduced cost – An EMPI will help reduce the costs associated with unnecessary care. Without an EMPI to help eliminate duplicate records, patients can be sent for tests they’ve already had. Or, a patient may have multiple chronic conditions, and each specialist he visits orders similar sets of lab and radiology tests, which are unnecessary, costly, and inconvenient for the patient. In the past, fee-for-service payments would cover these costs, but with fixed payments from episodic bundled payments and other value-based payment models that transfer risk to the provider, health systems increasingly bear these costs themselves.

  • Improved outcomes – EMPI is at the heart of tracking the patient journey through the health system and improving the quality of clinical interactions. Incomplete information resulting from duplicate or partial records can contribute to clinical errors. For example, providers without access to a single, complete patient record may be in the dark about the medications a patient is taking. This can lead to duplicate medications being prescribed, as well as potential adverse events resulting from dangerous drug-to-drug interactions or drug allergies that may have been documented in one system but are missing from others.

  • Accurate analytics – The complete patient view provided by an EMPI ensures accurate risk assessments—that critical first step in care management. Incomplete patient records can lead to providers failing to recognize patients in at-risk populations and missing the opportunity to proactively schedule required screenings or treatments. An accurate EMPI is also an essential element for internal performance measurement and quality improvement; poor data quality makes it very hard for hospitals to properly measure their own performance and to focus improvement efforts in the right areas.

Health systems focused on population health and value-based care cannot afford to put off addressing the messy and costly problems caused by duplicate patient records. Fortunately, a next-generation EMPI can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively, to deliver the critical benefits of a single, complete view of the patient record required for success in today’s volatile healthcare environment.

To learn more about how EMPI can improve your organization's population health efforts, click the button below to download the complimentary white paper:

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Topics: EMPI, Health Systems, Healthcare IT, Data Quality, Single Patient View

Posted by Gordon Cooper on 11 Jul 2018

About the author
Gordon Cooper

Gordon Cooper

CEO, VisionWare


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