- Hospitals spend millions of dollars and countless hours resolving patient record matching issues due to lack of interoperability — money and time that could be saved by using enterprise master patient index (EMPI) support tools, a new Black Book Research report finds.
- The firm surveyed nearly 1,400 health technology leaders to understand the challenges they face with patient identification.
- Hospitals without an EMPI reported match rates of 24% when records were exchanged externally, versus 85% at hospitals with such an index. EMPI users reported consistently correct patient IDs in 93% of registrations.
Without an EMPI, on average 18% of organizations' patient records were duplicates. The cost of repeated medical care resulting from duplicate records averaged $1,950 per patient per inpatient stay and more than $800 per emergency department visit, according to the report.
Inaccurate patient identification or information is also responsible for an estimated one-third of all claims denials — costing hospitals on average $1.5 million last year and $6 billion for the U.S. healthcare system overall.
The average time if takes a hospital with over 150 beds to clean up and reconcile records averages five months, the report found.
The findings underscore the need for interoperability as electronic records capture increasing amounts of patient data and are shared across disparate EHR systems.
Patient identification is a serious problem. Currently, there is no national patient identifier system in the U.S. Congress continues to ban federal funding to develop an NPI, and technology companies are reluctant to share proprietary information at risk of losing market share.
Meanwhile, ECRI’s Patient Safety Organization found 7,613 wrong-patient events voluntarily reported by 181 healthcare organizations between January 2013 and July 2015.
And while more vendors are embracing open platforms, most interoperability efforts are focused on transmission and not usability, according to a recent Health Affairs analysis. For example, just 18.7% of hospitals said they often use patient data from outside providers in decisions affecting patients. And fewer than three in 10 engaged in all four interoperability measures identified by the researchers: finding, sending, receiving and integrating electronic patient identification.
Last fall, the American Medical Association launched a shared framework for organizing health data. The Integrated Health Model Initiative’s focus is on patient-centric information and finding data elements most predictive of improved outcomes.
“Ultimately, the real challenge of identity management and parsing together a longitudinal health record has to do with integration and interoperability,” Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Research, said in a statement. “Many systems still do not communicate and store data in disjointed architectures and an upsurge of identifiers continue to be created.”