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Three Hidden Costs of Duplicate Records

Thought Leadership

No matter how much you have invested in your EHR, enterprise master patient index (EMPI) technology, or master data management (MDM) solution, no matter how small your patient population is, and no matter how diligent your registration staff is, your EHR or EMPI is riddled with duplicate patient records. According to a recent Black Book Research survey, the average duplicate rate within healthcare organizations is 18%,[1] which is up significantly from the national average of 8-12% just ten years ago.[2] 

These duplicate records have huge costs for healthcare organizations, which fall into three primary categories. 

1. Economic Costs 

According to the same Black Book survey, each duplicate record costs healthcare organizations over $800 per emergency department (ED) visit and over $1,950 per inpatient stay due to redundant medical tests and procedures. In addition to these costs, the survey found that 33% of all denied claims were a result of poor patient matching, costing the average hospital $1.5M annually and the healthcare industry $2 billion annually. A different study is not as optimistic, asserting that patient misidentification costs the average hospital over $17.4M annually in denied claims. [3] 

2. Reputational Costs 

Duplicate records reflect poorly on healthcare organizations. In fact, 88% of consumers directly blame the hospital system for their dissatisfaction with the lack of portability of their health care records.[4] This is becoming even more important as patients gain visibility into their health records through patient portals and personal health record apps—because these portals and apps also give patients instant visibility into any missing health records. 

In an increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace, patient satisfaction is a commodity—and today’s healthcare consumer is savvy enough to expect something as simple as a complete and portable health record from her provider. Patients will increasingly seek care exclusively from providers that offer this. 

3. Care Quality and Patient Safety Costs 

According to Ponemon Institute, 86% of nurses, physicians, and IT practitioners say they have witnessed or know of a medical error that was the result of patient misidentification.[5] A letter to Congress sent by AHIMA and cosigned by 32 other organizations (including Verato) spelled out the problem more poignantly: “Patient identification errors often begin during the registration process and can initiate a cascade of errors, including wrong site surgery, delayed or lost diagnoses, and wrong patient orders, among others.”[6] 

Needless to say, care quality and patient safety should never be negatively impacted by insufficient health IT capabilities. Any event like wrong site surgery or delayed diagnoses can not only have huge legal consequences for a health system, but more importantly can drastically impact a patient’s health. 

Luckily, There Is a Cure 

Verato Auto-Steward™ is a simple cloud-based plug-in for your EHR or EMPI technology that automatically finds and resolves its missed matches and duplicate records using Referential Matching. Verato Auto-Steward can even automatically resolve the “potential duplicate records” your EHR or EMPI has flagged for manual resolution by HIM staff or data stewards. 

This enables your organization to reduce duplicates, reduce clinical costs, improve the revenue cycle, and improve care and patient safety. 

For a more comprehensive solution, look towards the Verato Universal Identity™ platform, the industry’s first hMDM solution, the next-generation MDM for healthcare organizations, to enable a complete and trusted single source of truth for consumer, patient, and provider identity. Our cloud-native hMDM platform leverages an unparalleled nationwide dataset and AI technology to resolve, manage, and enrich healthcare identities for people and organizations. 

[1] 2018 Mid-Year EHR Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Black Book Market Research 
[2] 2008 Quality Impact of the Master Patient Index, Journal of AHIMA 
[3] 2016 National Patient Misidentification Report, Ponemon Institute 
[4] 2018 Mid-Year EHR Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Black Book Market Research 
[5] 2016 National Patient Misidentification Report, Ponemon Institute 
[6] 2018, Letter to Congress, AHIMA