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Studies in Success: Exempla Healthcare - Denver, CO

Duplicate Records Accumulate and Take Too Long to Rectify

New workflow tool resolves data integrity issues and reduces resource requirements

 

Challenge:

After completing an extensive MPI Clean-Up project with the help of Just Associates, Exempla Healthcare was off to a great start on their quest to preserve patient data integrity and support positive patient identification. However, Exempla's focus on patient safety and their knowledge of the impact of overlaid records has their registrars and schedulers erring on the side of caution. When in doubt, they create a duplicate record -- the lesser of two evils. 

Solution:

IDMaster® duplicate medical record software from Just Associates helped Exempla create a repeatable workflow and process to address and resolve duplicate records quickly. They also use it to identify employees that require extra training to avoid duplicate record creation.

Services provided:

  • IDMaster® duplicate medical record software for workflow
     

Result: 

With IDMaster®, the Exempla Healthcare data integrity staff works more efficiently and they are resolving upwards of 100 duplicate records monthly at each of their three hospitals. The built-in QA features enable management to monitor employee performance and provide targeted training to individual staff members who require additional help.


“From the beginning, Just Associates was intimately involved in our EMPI product implementation. They helped us with requirements, vendor selection, contract negotiations and product specifications, and stayed with us through testing and implementation. When we were up and running, Just Associates helped us fine-tune our patient registration and HIM cleanup processes to help us with ongoing duplicate prevention and duplicate management. Their knowledge and their experience were invaluable.”
Grant Landsbach, RHIA
Data Integrity / EMPI Manager
Exempla Healthcare



Exempla Healthcare consists of 3 major hospitals and more than 50 network clinics located throughout the Denver, CO metro area. It is a not-for-profit organization with 1,176 beds and is affiliated with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

In 2009 Exempla selected Just Associates to evaluate strategic needs, recommend a new external Enterprise Master Patient Index system (EMPI) and perform a comprehensive data clean-up.

Next, with a brand new EMPI system in place and a better understanding of the various ways patient identity records become compromised, Grant Landsbach, Exempla EMPI Data Integrity Manager was already on the cutting edge of data integrity management to support positive patient identification. Landsbach and 3 of his dedicated fulltime staff members were faced with evaluating and resolving the duplicate records that were accumulating quickly.

After about 6 months of analyzing their duplicates using tedious, spreadsheet-based methods Landsbach decided it was time to try IDMaster®, the automated duplicate medical software for workflow from Just Associates. The software was up and running quickly, and they felt the benefits almost immediately. "It's not a complex install, and it does not take up a lot of server space either," says Landsbach. My staff is more efficient now. They can figure out the easy duplicates quickly and get them out of the way, saving time to work on the more complex issues later in the week."

Even though doing more work with fewer people is a compelling argument for anyone thinking about utilizing IDMaster®, for Landsbach the most valuable benefits lie in how much easier it is for him to manage and monitor his employees. For example, supervisors can quickly assign tasks to their staff based upon level of expertise. They can assign duplicate pairs with several matching data elements to junior-level or less experienced employees, because they are generally easier to resolve. More experienced staff can work on the pairs with fewer matching data elements, or records that require complex analysis. This makes it possible to leverage the individual strengths of each employee while creating the most efficient processes for the group.

"It's a big deal, because you can bring in people that don't have a lot of experience and they can still be very effective. They don't all have to be data experts," says Landsbach.

Additional key benefits according to Landsbach are the built-in quality assurance functions and the detailed reporting capabilities that are included with IDMaster®. Managers can spot check decisions made by the team on a random or a scheduled basis, ensuring proper procedures and validity decision logic are applied with consistency. This allows them to measure productivity at the individual and team level. 

"Exports [reports] are really good from a managerial standpoint because everyone is in there making decisions, notes and comments. When they are done, you can do a query and figure out how many duplicates each person resolved in a given week. We can even run reports to see which registrars from which areas created the duplicates. I can give these reports to the registration managers so they know where to concentrate their training. It's an on-going quality improvement tool that helps us cut down on the number of new issues created on a daily basis," says Landsbach.

With IDMaster®, Landsbach and team are resolving more than 100 records per month at each of their hospitals, which is helping them stay ahead of the problem. However, Landsbach knows that the duplicate records will never completely go away and he accepts that. 

"The more you push for fewer overlays like we do, the more duplicate records you are going to create. You can't play patient roulette, and patient safety can't be over-emphasized. Duplicate records are far less serious than overlays, and you just need better tools and processes to help you clean them up. IDMaster helps us improve the quality of the information in our systems in this way. It helps me manage my workforce better, and I'd definitely recommend it for most [healthcare] environments these days."

Moving forward, Landsbach believes that IDMaster® will help his team continue to make strides in duplicate record management to enable positive patient identification.

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