Revenue Cycle

Standardization and collaboration are key to patient matching and reducing duplicate records

HIM Briefings, May 1, 2016

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Accurate patient matching within the EMR should not be a concern limited to HIM professionals. Ensuring that medical record data is correct and complete and that duplicate records are not created is key to various healthcare initiatives, including population health management, analytics, information governance, patient-centric care, health information exchanges, and finance. It all starts with the patient's record. Reducing the number of duplicate records at a hospital and being able to effectively match records is critical to ensuring that these healthcare initiatives are successful, says Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA, director of HIM practice excellence for AHIMA.

"Patient matching is really the underpinning of all the strategic initiatives that are going on in healthcare," Kadlec says. "You have to have accurate patient information to have accurate patient care. Ensuring that you have the right patient and the right information at the right time is really what drives the physicians' and clinicians' ability to actually provide that patient with care."

More than half of HIM professionals work with mitigating duplicate patient records, and of that group, 72% do so on a weekly basis, according to a recent survey of AHIMA members. Unfortunately, less than half of all respondents have quality assurance in place for their registration or post-registration processes. (A summary of the data is available in the Journal of AHIMA at http://journal.ahima.org/2016/01/06/survey-patient-matching-problems-routine-in-healthcare.)

"The challenge is having the staff to be able to dedicate to making the corrections, doing the matching, and ensuring that everything is getting put back together," Kadlec says.

Patient matching and duplicate records are a major issue right now because hospitals are using so many different systems and there is often a lack of information governance across those systems, says Megan Munns, RHIA, identity manager at Just Associates, Inc., based in Denver.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to HIM Briefings.

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