Tackling duplicate patient records with technology

Hospital Products Australia
Wednesday, 01 November, 2023

Tackling duplicate patient records with technology

Duplicate patient records within Electronic Health Records (EHRs) pose a range of challenges and far-reaching consequences that often remain underemphasised. These duplications can originate from minor errors in data entry, the amalgamation of digital record systems, or the consolidation of healthcare facilities due to acquisitions and mergers. Regardless of their origins, it is imperative to recognise the necessity of routinely purging duplicate entries from EHRs. This ensures data accuracy, streamlines healthcare operations, and safeguards patient well-being.

There are not enough qualified personnel to manage the accumulation of duplicate records that are occurring daily. All LHDs and hospitals along with eMRs have data migration departments and teams to address duplicates. But they are inadequate to the task of a vastly growing patient base and record keeping system. One hospital group in Australia has an identity team of two people responsible for data identity and merging for all locations. They have a KPI of reconciling 150 pairs per week and a record queue of 200 pairs per day. Current estimates are about 200,000 unresolved pairs that are still existent and growing.

Some of the key problems caused by duplicate patient records include:

Patient safety risks such as medical errors and confusion of medical history can lead to delayed or missed care.

Data integrity issues of inaccurate patient data due to conflicting or outdated information.

Increased Administrative Costs in resource allocation to resolving duplicates and incorrect billing and reimbursement can result in financial losses for healthcare providers.

Reporting and Research Inaccuracies: Data can skew research and reporting efforts, as researchers and analysts may inadvertently include redundant or incorrect data.

Compliance and Privacy Concerns: Duplicate records increase the risk of data breaches and unauthorised data access, as more records mean more opportunities for security breaches.

Patient Experience: Duplicates can lead to fragmented care, as healthcare providers may not have a complete and accurate picture of a patient’s medical history.

HR misallocation: Identity teams are made to oversee and reconcile mundane time-consuming roster management queues that grow faster than they have resources to deal with. This takes away valuable staff focus on other pertinent hospital and healthcare issues needing their attention.

Efforts to reduce and eliminate duplicate patient records are essential for improving the quality of care, patient safety, and healthcare system efficiency. Healthcare organisations invest in data cleansing and deduplication processes, improved patient matching algorithms, and strict data governance to address these issues and enhance the quality of patient data.

Hospital Products Australia (HPA), recently partnered with Harris Data Integrity Solutions to unveil a groundbreaking collaboration that marks a monumental leap in the realms of healthcare and technology. Under the partnership, HPA assumes a pivotal role alongside Harris Data Integrity Solutions to tackle the challenge of duplicated patient records within Australia’s evolving Electronic Health Records (EHRs) landscape.

The collaboration between Hospital Products Australia and Harris Data Integrity Solutions stands poised to usher in a new era of enhanced patient care, streamlined operations, and fortified data integrity.

For more information, please visit https://hpaust.com/.

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/SDI Productions

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