The old model of identity management: The common and traditional Identity Management model at many healthcare organizations tends to be reactive. First and foremost, the concentration is remediating a duplicate medical record when it appears. Some duplicates need urgent attention, some are potentially a duplicate, and others may not ever be resolved and/or false duplicates, but the efforts of the organization are mainly focused on after the potential duplicate has been triggered. From there, downstream systems are rarely kept ‘up to date’ and even more so not reconciled and rarely does the organization understand the full system interface schematic and how patient merges are handled automatically. Additionally, there is lack of ownership within the organization on who ‘owns’ the unique identity of these patients, and in most cases, the duplicates are caused by one department (Patient Access) and the ‘clean-up’ efforts completed by another department (HIM). Seldom is there much collaboration between the two departments to revise the issue, and rarely is HIM included in any IT efforts on MPI decisions.
The commonplace of the industry in general is to merge, acquire, consolidate, and increase the size of the hospital organization/network, so influxes of ‘new’ patients / MPI’s is more prevalent than ever. Organizations and HIM Departments are having an increasingly harder time keeping up with the varying ‘one-time shock’ increase of potential duplicate medical records. Then, just as in any profession in the industry and even elsewhere, it is increasingly difficult to retain staff, fill open positions, and find qualified candidates to support the workloads at hand.
The new model of identity management: Healthcare organizations should be focusing their identity management efforts to be more proactive. Instead of mainly focusing on remediating potential duplicate medical records when they appear, organizations should be more so focused on how to prevent those duplicates from being created in the first place. The need to do the manual remediation will not disappear, but the time spent remediating duplicates can be greatly reduced.
Healthcare organizations should be focusing on defining an enterprise-wide identity management strategy, including initiatives to define an enterprise-wide identity team that is centralized, defining clear ownership of the enterprise unique identifier, and implementing a scalable duplicate resolution team that can fluctuate the same as the future of increasing acquisitions and patient loads. Collaboration efforts between HIM, Patient Access, and IT should be at the forefront of discussions and major efforts should be made on identifying the root cause locations of where higher amounts of duplicate records and their source/reasonings.
Furthermore, healthcare organizations should heavily consider the idea of outsourcing duplicate resolution to support their enterprise-wide strategy. Securing a reputable partner for these efforts not only brings expertise into the organization that can support defining a strategy and fully understanding the big picture, but also has the vast resources to support fluctuations in volumes of duplicates vs. having more (or less) staff than needed hired directly by the hospital – and more importantly on the hospital’s payroll. This will eliminate any problems with staffing (unexpected time off, extended time off, vacant positions, productivity/quality issues, etc.) and will ensure that the organizations overall goals of the identity management strategy is being met and not limited because of staffing constraints.
e4 and Intellis have combined to form the nation’s premier eMPI remediation solutions provider. With the largest team of identity experts in the nation, e4 and Intellis have reviewed more than 7 million duplicate medical records in the last 2 years alone.
Todd Goughnour, RHIA, MBA, VP, HIM
Todd Goughnour, RHIA, MBA is a proven HIM and Health IT executive with more than 10+ years of leadership experience in system installation, on-time delivery, and under-budget results. As Practice Director of the Health Information Management Practice at e4health, Todd has managed numerous system installations, operational designs, and some of the most successful eMPI cleanup initiatives in the industry. Todd has helped design, install, and optimize e4sight®, e4health’s remote worker productivity software, which is being used at numerous health systems across the US.
Robin Gates, RHIA, Sr. Director, Sales and Business Development
Robin Gates is an accomplished sales leader with proven track record of exceeding sales, revenue, and client retention goals over a 25+ year career. Robin’s background in sales management, business development, and account management skills help her deliver outstanding customer experiences. Robin is a respected and trusted adviser to the C-Suite, departmental directors, colleagues, and channel partners.