It's our time! Twenty-seventeen is going to be a big year for us.
Let me back up. When I say "us," I am referring to the people who have been quietly going about the business of cleaning up all of that data everyone is talking about all of the time. Sure, data is doing amazing things like improving patient care, speeding up revenue cycle, and even helping find a cure for cancer. But, data can only work its magic if it's accurate.
That's where we typically come in. We're the trash crew. Without us, stuff can get pretty smelly pretty quickly. And, by "stuff," I mean your master patient index, the lowest common denomenator of data in the health care continuum. If the master patient index isn't clean, everything down stream from it is multiplying junk.
We have been providing master patient index clean up services to our health care customers for several years now, and it's been a relatively quiet piece of our business. No one thinks about their duplicate rate until it's time for an EMR conversion, or until their facility is merged with a larger hospital system, or, in the worst case, a terrible error is made because of a patient's duplicate record. However, all eyes are increasingly on the issue of accurate patient identification.
A couple of things have been revving up over the past year or more. Together the momentum of congressional push and industry interest are resulting in what I predict will become one of the themes of 2017: cleaner data.
At the end of 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. This sweeping legislation included a call for a Government Accountability Office report to review what the ONC is currently doing to improve patient matching. If the ONC gets a rap on the knuckles for not doing enough to ensure patient safety through accurate patient identification, you better believe health care facilities are going to feel the effects. An ONC crackdown on master patient indexes will come.
For years the accepted industry standard has been that a facility's duplicate rate should stay below 5% with many saying it really should be below 2%. There is currenlty no law to that effect, and faced with budget shortfalls from every direction, many HIM Directors find it difficult to make the case for an expensive, comprehensive clean up project.
Over the past decade or so, health care facilities have gotten serious about buttoning up their privacy and security. The ONC's HIPAA audits have done their job. Facilities are by and large HIPAA compliant, and employees are well trained on how not to cause a breach event.
Now, it appears, the ONC will turn its attention, at least in part, to policing data blocking, technology interoperability, and, as a result, the proliferation of accurate data.
So, if you're thinking you'd like to get a leg up on 2017, you can click to get a free data analysis. We'll let you know whether your duplicate rate is below that magic 5% bar. And, of course, there are no strings attached. You can walk away with an accurate picture of your MPI. Sure, we'd like to help you clean it up, but that's up to you.