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Achieving the ONC’s mandated 0.5% duplicate rate with Referential Matching

The ONC has stated that healthcare organizations need to achieve a 0.5% duplicate rate by 2020. Yet the average duplicate rate is 18%. How can organizations reach this seemingly impossible milestone? With Verato Auto-Steward™ and its Referential Matching approach. Organizations can plug Verato Auto-Steward directly into their EHR or EMPI to automatically find and resolve its missed matches and duplicate records, including the “potential duplicate records” the EHR or EMPI has flagged for manual resolution.

Solving patient matching is essential, but very challenging

Since the early 2000s, I have personally seen a massive investment by healthcare organizations – including payers, HIEs, PBMs, and especially providers – to improve the quality and availability of patient data. Either through federal incentives or their own internal business cases, these organizations have invested heavily in technology to modernize their infrastructure with the ultimate goals of delivering value to the healthcare system and reducing costs. Many organizations have doubled down on their use of EHR technology, expanding the scope and/or consolidating under one vendor. Likewise, in many cases, organizations have decided to rely on enterprise master patient index (EMPI) technology to improve their patient identification and governance.

However, after years and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in EHR and EMPI technologies, organizations still suffer from an average duplicate patient record rate of 18%. And yet the ONC has stated that by 2020 organizations need to achieve a 0.5% duplication rate.

It’s only going to get more challenging – and we need a new plan

Healthcare organizations are in the midst of consolidating, introducing new systems, and migrating to new and better versions of old technology. The thought is that with these moves they may finally address the issue of patient identification and patient matching. However, all of these plans and efforts are actually exacerbating the problem by creating a higher level of complexity with systems and greater volumes of data. This is obvious by the renewed discussions of interoperability and national patient matching strategies that have been rebooted in our government and in professional groups like AHIMA. Unfortunately, these discussions lack concrete plans or recommendations that include real innovation.

Every organization struggles with the duplicate patient record problem. But organizations either have no plan to meet the ONC mandate, or they are planning to address it with the same technology that has already been struggling with this challenge for decades. It’s time to create a plan that recognizes the complexity of the problem, respects the investments made to date in EHR and EMPI solutions, and does not overly burden organizations with additive costs.

The new plan: improve your EHR’s or EMPI’s patient matching with Referential Matching

Verato offers a solution that fundamentally solves the patient matching problem while still preserving the investments made in EHR and EMPI technologies. Verato Auto-Steward™ is a simple cloud-based plug-in for EHR and EMPI technologies that automatically finds and resolves any missed matches and duplicate records in your EHR or EMPI. Verato Auto-Steward can even automatically resolve any “potential duplicate records” that the EHR or EMPI has flagged for manual resolution.

Verato Auto-Steward has been widely deployed with some of the leading EMPI and EHR technologies in the market. Customers leveraging EHR solutions from Epic®, Cerner®, eClinicalWorks® and many more have quickly been able to plug Verato Auto-Steward into their EHR to not only improve the patient matching within the EMR but do so in a way that makes it more affordable to operate with current or reduced staff. Likewise, Verato Auto-Steward has been integrated with widely-deployed EMPI solutions like Mirth® and IBM® Initiate.

Verato Auto-Steward leverages a totally new, next-generation approach to patient matching called “Referential Matching” to make matches no EHR or EMPI could ever make. Rather than directly comparing the demographic data from two patient records to see if they match, Verato instead matches that demographic data to its comprehensive and continuously-updated reference database of identities. This proprietary database contains over 300 million identities spanning the entire U.S. population, and each identity contains a complete profile of demographic data spanning a 30-year history. It is essentially a pre-built answer key for all patient demographic data.

By matching records to this database instead of to each other, Verato can make matches that EHRs and EMPIs could never make—even patient records containing demographic data that is out-of-date, incomplete, incorrect, or different.

By using Verato Auto-Steward, organizations can ensure that they achieve the original business case established for the use of their EHR or EMPI, that they reduce the costs associated with the ongoing maintenance and support of their EHR or EMPI, and that the larger ONC goal of a 0.5% duplicate rate by 2020 can become a reality.