Reimagining Master Data Management For Healthcare Organizations 

Thought Leadership

What is healthcare master data management (hMDM)?

Data management for healthcare has certain requirements and needs that a generic MDM platform can only fulfill with extensive tuning and custom implementation. hMDM is master data management redesigned for healthcare organizations across the care continuum to meet their specific business needs out of the box—including clinical-grade accuracy, highest levels of data security, data stewardship for healthcare workflows, and built-in data enrichment to fill critical gaps in patient and provider records. 

The Verato Universal Identity™ platform introduces the industry’s first hMDM. It contains everything a healthcare company needs—and nothing it doesn’t–to enable a complete and trusted single source of truth for consumer, patient, and provider identity. The cloud-native hMDM platform leverages an unparalleled nationwide dataset and AI technology to resolve, manage, and enrich healthcare identities for people and organizations. 

Why is health data management increasingly important?

Digital transformation in healthcare is no longer a distant goal. Organizations across the care continuum are working on keeping up with a changing healthcare landscape as health organizations are generating more data than ever before. Data management is especially important for healthcare companies since a complete picture of every person in the system is necessary for superior patient care. There are different solutions to manage this data, but it can be difficult to decide between available options. 

There are different options organizations can choose from to manage their data: 

  • Master data management (MDM) solutions 
  • Enterprise master patient index (EMPI) solutions 
  • Healthcare-specific master data management (hMDM) 

Master data management (MDM) and master patient index (MPI) services developed over the last 30 years in response to an increase in digital patient information and a need for streamlined data governance. MPIs first emerged as part of electronic health records (EHR) to identify duplicate records in the application. However, they were not built to match records across different sources. As more data was managed digitally, second-generation enterprise master patient index (EMPI) solutions were developed. Most recently, the first true hMDM solution has emerged as the next generation of MDM specifically for healthcare organizations.  

In this blog post, we will examine the different kinds of data management solutions and the advantages and disadvantages of each. To get a clearer picture, we will look at how well each solution solves the healthcare-care-specific business needs detailed above. By the end, you should have a better idea of whether MDM, EMPI, or hMDM is best for your needs. 

What is MDM?

MDM solutions identify, link, and synchronize data across different sources. The data is managed in one central system. Generic MDM solutions can be used in any industry, e.g., in retail to manage products, in trucking to manage drivers, or in higher education to manage student data. In order to manage healthcare data, generic MDM solutions require extensive tuning. Companies that offer MDM solutions include Informatica, IBM, and Reltio. 

Similar to how EMPIs developed from MPIs, hMDM is the next evolution of MDM in healthcare. 

What is EMPI?

Master patient index (MPI) solutions are built to match patient data in healthcare organizations and are usually built into an EHR system. MPIs cannot match identities outside of the EHR and therefore limit the accessible information on a patient. 

EMPIs are standalone products that are deployed in addition to EHRs. Their more sophisticated algorithms make matches across siloed data sources that MPIs can’t make. Still, as standalone solutions, EMPIs lack the support to manage patients, providers, and consumers with one platform. To learn more about the difference between EMPI and MPI, read our comparison.  

What is hMDM?

As explained above, hMDM is master data management redesigned for healthcare organizations across the care continuum to meet their healthcare-specific business needs. An hMDM solution combines the best of both worlds: The consumer data management capabilities of an MDM built around the Verato Universal Master Person Index, the industry’s most accurate EMPI. 

An hMDM platform can match and manage the data of every person in a healthcare organization—including patients, members, providers, employees, and consumers—with one solution. The approach has several advantages: 

When practitioners can see someone’s entire care journey, it improves patient outcomes; when outreach managers can see a person’s preferred contact methods, it improves patient engagement; and when a patient can easily find information about their care team, it improves patient satisfaction. 

Which identity data management tool is right for you?

Data management solutions need to work for the unique business needs of the healthcare industry. The following is a breakdown of how well MDM solutions meet the specific needs of healthcare organizations, as defined above: 

Domains of data

Support for several domains of health data, such as patient, provider, organization, member, employee, and consumer data, allows organizations to work with one comprehensive solution. 

  • Generic MDM solutions are horizontal across industries and can manage most data. However, they do not offer data management for healthcare-specific domains out of the box. In order to manage patient, provider, member, and consumer data, the customer is required to configure their own data model, algorithms, and workflows. This can be a lengthy process. 
  • EMPIs are typically designed to match patient and/or provider data only. In some cases, a second instance of the solution needs to be built to match both types of data. 
  • An hMDM can manage patient, provider, location, member, employee, and consumer data with one comprehensive solution. Typical EMPIs cannot match more than one domain without sacrificing accuracy. The EMPI included in the hMDM platform can match patient and consumer data together to solve modern-day issues. 


Accuracy for matching patient clinical data is of the utmost importance to patient care. Incorrect or mismatched data can lead to repetitive or unnecessary treatments and diagnostics, or, in the worst cases, missed diagnoses. 

  • MDM solutions are typically designed to match data for supply chain, marketing, and customer use cases, and therefore will never reach the necessary clinical-grade matching accuracy required for healthcare. As a result, a separate EMPI solution is often needed in addition to the MDM solution to match data for clinical use cases. 
  • EMPIs offer advanced, clinical-grade matching. Due to their algorithms, they can overcome simple data errors but will struggle to match patient records with more significant inconsistencies. 
  • The Verato Universal Identity platform makes matches no other solution could make. In addition to leveraging sophisticated probabilistic and fuzzy algorithms, Verato Referential Matching also matches records to a proprietary reference database spanning the U.S. population and containing a 30-year history of data. This way, even records containing out-of-date, incomplete, or questionable data quality can be correctly matched to each other. hMDM is even capable of simultaneously running multiple algorithms that are pre-tuned for your clinical vs business use cases. 


Efficiency allows care teams to concentrate on patient care quality, not software maintenance or prolonged rollout of features. 

  • MDM solutions can be customized extensively to fit particular needs. However, this also makes them labor intensive to deploy because custom configurations are needed for even the most common healthcare use cases. While some cloud-native options exist, most vendors still only offer on-premise or hosted solutions. Not only does this slow down deployment, but it also requires time-intensive maintenance and draws focus from other initiatives the IT department is working on. 
  • As EMPIs are built with healthcare needs in mind, their algorithms do not require as much configuration as MDM solutions. However, some EMPIs require retuning with each additional data source. 
  • As a cloud-native solution that only features what healthcare providers need, deployment of hMDM is fast and easy. There is no need for lengthy configurations, giving your IT team the time to focus on other initiatives. 


Health Information Management teams require tools that can manage data from different EHRs and other sources. 

  • MDM solutions may lack the specific stewardship tools to handle the types of data issues found in patient data from an EHR, which are often very different than customer data from a CRM, for example. 
  • EMPIs have stewardship capabilities oriented towards the needs of HIM professionals managing data from one or more EHRs, including specific workflows for managing duplicates, overlays, and other registration-related data problems. However, those HIM-specific workflows are not effective when you are trying to manage larger volumes of data from systems outside the EHR. 
  • The hMDM UI is designed to support specific workflows for Patient/EHR and offers advanced data management and analytics tools for consumer use cases in addition to relationship management for cross-domain. 


Data management for healthcare requires the highest level of security to comply with HIPAA requirements and maintain the trust of patients and practitioners. 

  • Generic MDM solutions are not built with the specific needs of healthcare organizations in mind and may not meet protected health information (PHI) standards. 
  • EMPIs are typically secure solutions that meet healthcare standards. 
  • The Verato Universal Identity platform is HITRUST, SOC 2 Type II, and PCI certified so you can rest easy about your data’s security at all times. 


An identity resolution’s deployment, configuration, and maintenance is much easier and quicker if the vendor team has healthcare industry-specific expertise. 

  • MDM vendors typically do not have the deep industry knowledge necessary to meet healthcare challenges head on. 
  • EMPI vendors typically have more industry expertise than generic MDM vendors. 
  • The hMDM platform was created by a team of industry experts who have decades of experience in healthcare. They know exactly what care organizations need – and don’t need – to face today’s challenges. 

Learn more about the Verato Universal Identity platform, the first MDM purpose-built for healthcare.