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Studies in Success: Shore Memorial Hospital

Discovering the Unknown: Establishing Optimal Cerner Registration System Settings Reduces Patient Record Duplication


About Shore Memorial: 

Shore Memorial Hospital is a 296 bed, not-for-profit Acute Care community hospital in Somers Point, NJ. A healthcare facility that prides itself in offering centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular, neurologic, orthopedic, emergency, maternity and pediatric care, Shore Memorial is one of a select few hospitals in the U.S. to receive the Gold Seal of Approval™ for healthcare quality by The Joint Commission for its lumbar and cervical spine surgery programs.


One of the biggest MPI (Master Patient Index) issues facing Shore Memorial was that of the “unknown.” To broaden their enterprise suite of Cerner solutions, the facility had migrated off of a legacy registration system to a new Cerner Millennium® Registration application. At that time, HIM Director Richard Wicker and his staff were not confident with the integrity of data stored in the new MPI. They suspected that the conversion and the newly implemented registration system may have generated duplicate patient records.


Just Associates was brought on to conduct a data analysis of Shore Memorial’s MPI to identify those duplicates that needed to be reconciled, which also proved useful in evaluating system settings. While Shore Memorial Hospital’s IT and HIM staff worked closely to examine many of the initial configuration settings, Just Associates was engaged to validate that Cerner settings were correct and optimal.


A significant number of potential duplicate pairs were identified during the data analysis. An additional value was Just Associates ability to identify configuration settings that were generating additional duplicates. Shore Memorial has adjusted the settings based on Just Associates’ recommendations and is correcting the identified duplicates. This effort also supports the facility in its ongoing participation in a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO).

“We were concerned about how patient data would convert as it moved over to Cerner,” indicates Richard. Subsequently, Richard was aware that the problem had extended beyond data conversion. In fact, post implementation, new duplicate records were being generated because of the system’s initial settings. 

The Cerner Millennium system includes many data tables and nuances associated with different settings and associated rules making system set-up an involved initiative. Such was the case when Just Associates began its data analysis and consulting project. While the diligence of Shore Memorial’s IT staff focused on accuracy during the set up some duplicate records were still being created. 

Just Associates conducted a data analysis of Shore Memorial’s MPI database to identify duplicate records, as well as the primary causes for duplicate creation. The data integrity issues that were identified were traced to their origins, leading Just Associates to make recommendations to correct and optimize the Cerner’s settings. In addition, Just Associates worked with Shore Memorial’s HIMS and IT staffs to submit Cerner person/patient data queries to validate the recommended adjustments. The firm also conducted interviews with key IT, HIM and patient access staff to understand the process of new person record creation and duplicate record reconciliation. 

Shore Memorial is presently reconciling the duplicates as well as maintaining registration rules to prevent new duplicates. 

When the project concluded, Just Associates conducted a “knowledge transfer” of its findings and recommendations, and gave the HIM and IT groups an overview of Cerner’s Person-Centric Data Model. This included a detailed discussion regarding the Cerner Millennium system and how to best manage the creation of person records. “Not having gone through this effort would have made our involvement in our RHIO more challenging,” suggested Richard “we are in a stronger position to support our RHIO’s health information requests.”

“Just Associates has been excellent to work with,” comments Richard. “We went to them because of their Cerner knowledge and expertise, which they proved during the project. They were also very timely, responsive and professional during the project. They acted the way you want a vendor to act.”

Richard Wicker
HIMS Director
Shore Memorial Hospital
Somers Point, NJ


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