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Studies in Success: CHRISTUS St. Vincent

Conversion Uncovers Huge Duplicate Record Problem

Just Associates quickly takes action to resolve issues



After completing a massive conversion project from Affinity to Cerner, CHRISTUS® St. Vincent discovered that systematic issues created an overwhelming amount of duplicate and overlapped records. They needed to resolve the problems immediately, before the issues compromised the integrity of the new system.


Just Associates took a SWAT team approach and quickly deployed a team to St. Vincent to evaluate the situation, recommend Cerner system setting adjustments and resolve tens of thousands of patient identity record problems across the hospital, radiology and imaging systems.


The Cerner system is fully-optimized, and all systematic issues have been eradicated. The data is clean, and the staff is able to keep up with new duplicate records resulting from human

CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center is a private, 268 bed, not-for-profit hospital serving seven counties of Northern New Mexico. Founded 1865 by Sisters of Charity, it was New Mexico's first hospital. In 2008, St. Vincent finalized a partnership with CHRISTUS, and now benefits from the resources of an international 40 hospital system. CHRISTUS St. Vincent is designated as a "sole community provider" by the Centers for Medicare and Medical Services and is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

In 2010, as St. Vincent was preparing to go live with their new Cerner system, reports revealed a huge amount of duplicate and overlapped records in their hospital and imaging center MPI systems. Lacking the manpower to address and clean up the records themselves, they decided to look outside of the facility for help.

An agile business model enabled Just Associates to send two well-qualified, internally trained patient identity managers to St. Vincent quickly. They evaluated the situation, recommended adjustments to the Cerner system settings, discovered previously unseen data integrity issues, and ultimately prevented the conversion of thousands of corrupt data records into the new database. Meanwhile, a separate team of Just Associates' experts worked offsite to resolve the duplicate and overlaid records.

"Just Associates deployed an evaluation team to our site quickly. They uncovered our issues and set to work fixing the problems right away in a very efficient manner," said Karen Clark, System Director, HIM, at CHRISTUS Health.

Ultimately, Just Associates addressed and resolved over 75,000 duplicate records from multiple systems. "One discovery lead to another and another, so the clean-up process was done in 3 separate phases. It took some time, but the integrity of our data has improved dramatically," said Clark.

"Moving forward," said Clark, "the challenge is to keep our data clean, which is a struggle at every facility I have ever worked at. Traditionally the responsibility to keep the MPI clean does not lie in the hands of the creators of the data, so the sense of responsibility for the accuracy is not always as great as we'd like it to be. But the HIM and Patient Access teams are working together very closely at St. Vincent Hospital and Imaging Center, to try and minimize their error rates."

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