Data quality and intake practices drive the health of an EMPI. Poor data quality with inconsistent intake practices are responsible for most duplicate and overlay records in healthcare. Sparsely-populated records offer little to work with during the matching process, and incorrect data speaks for itself – “garbage in, garbage out.” When intake practices at the point of patient registration are inconsistent, or when placeholder or bogus data is used for common situations such as trauma patients, newborns, patients experiencing homelessness, and others where data is not yet available or known, values can vary widely and wreak data havoc when there are no clear procedures to standardize these values for consistency across all systems and users.
A low issue detection rate can be a misleading indicator of record matching accuracy. It’s natural to assume that the system components responsible for catching patient identity issues in records is working well if there are few issues flagged, but that’s not always the case. The responsible system may not prioritize this function in either its usability or its outputs. When an organization relies on a clinical system or a “jack of all trades” application to be strong in every function, it is often true that the system’s duplicate, overlay, and overlap detection capabilities are weaker than a solution dedicated solely to patient identity matching and EMPI functionality. As a result, a merely adequate system leaves many issues undetected.
Patient matching accuracy becomes an organizational priority when the consequences of poor matching accuracy and undetected matches are exposed through rising patient safety issues, clinical confusion, and lost revenue. This reactive posture leaves the organization ill-equipped to know the full depth and complexity of identity issues living and growing within the organization, leaving them without the proper tools to respond appropriately.
For more information, download the “ARGO EMPI Overview” interview with David Engebos, President and COO of ARGO.