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Are Duplicate Patient Records Causing Your Security Problems?

Are Duplicate Patient Records Causing Your Security Problems?

In 1950, the most popular names in America were James, Michael, and Robert for males, Mary, Linda, and Patricia for females. Now lets pair those names with a popular surname such as Smith, Johnson, or Williams. Do you have a few patients with any of those names? Turns out, it’s causing a growing problem in healthcare organizations. 

According to an Imprivata CIO survey, 42 percent of respondents say that patient matching is their leading concern. That means more than 4 in 10 people interviewed have doubts about how well they are pairing up records with patients who enter their offices each day. And what may be even more concerning is that 18 percent of respondents had no idea how many mismatched records exist within their practices at all. 

That can be pretty scary for Mary Johnson who comes in for her annual exam, and you treat her like the Mary Johnson who has had two heart attacks in the last two years. Could you misdiagnose her? Could you prescribe incorrectly? 

It’s a patient safety thing. And it’s also about protecting patient data.

If you misidentify a patient, it can have a ripple effect on your practice, both on the clinical and financial sides. 

What’s the solution? 

It goes beyond asking a patient for basic information. Name, sex, even birthdates have the chance of duplication. And people move often enough that even addresses can be convoluted at best. A mom or dad with a very sick child can easily get confused and say “yes” to an incorrect address. 

Instead, start building a strategy. 

Step One

Address your current duplicate record problem. You can’t fix what you don’t know exists. And if you wait for an event to happen before you start the process, it can be costly, even deadly. Don’t wait for a problem; start the process today. 

Step Two

Avoid having duplicate records in the future. This means creating a system that avoids duplication. This means having a system that accurately identifies a patient at the point of entry. 

In the not-too-distant future, that could mean something like a palm-vein or iris recognition scanner at every check-in desk. 

But for now, it’s back to ensuring your current patient data is correct. 

It is, isn’t it?

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