Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 02, 2013

NextGate-Infor Partnership Resolves Mistaken Identity in Electronic Medical Record Keeping

A new article in HealthLeaders magazine indicates that mistaken identity is still a major problem for medical providers, even with electronic medical record (EMR) technology.

Poor technology integration often causes patient misidentification or the creation of duplicate EMRs. Many EMR applications fail to recognize patient identifiers from other medical practice applications that manage imaging, laboratories and insurance claim filing.

As the U.S. moves toward a coordinated care model and away from fee-for-service, record sharing between providers is essential. To address the problems of both duplicate records and patient misidentification, Infor has partnered with NextGate to add NextGate's Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) and Provider Registry to its Infor Cloverleaf product.

Cloverleaf is an integration and information exchange suite that integrates a variety of clinical business functions including supply management, finance, human capital and analytics. Adding NextGate EMPI and Provider Registry could reduce operational inefficiencies for medical offices, particularly regarding duplicate EMRs.

NextGate's EMPI and Provider Registry are built upon MatchMatrix, which is NextGate's master data management platform. The platform enables the programs to resolve identity mismatches.

Some providers have turned to biometric data and smart cards to resolve identity disparities among patients. For example, Vanguard Health System, which is based in Nashville, Tenn., operates in many cities around the U.S. Some Vanguard subsidiaries have implemented Life-MedID biometric smart card technology.

While Vanguard builds a new hospital in San Antonio, Texas, for example, patients are receiving services at ambulatory locations between San Antonio and nearby New Braunfels. According to Roderick Bell, CIO of Vanguard affiliate Resolute Health, smart cards have been effective for his company's 22,000 patients.

"I've been working with Life-MedID for maybe a year and a half, and I haven't had one duplicate record," Bell says. "I haven't had one patient identity theft, and I'm here in south Texas, where that happens a lot."

Providers have multiple options for reducing record duplication and identity mistakes. CommonWell, which is an EMR vendor consortium, has developed standards for patient ID to improve interoperability.

"If you can't uniquely identify your patients within whatever data you're analyzing, you're going to misread and therefore make executive decisions that are not spot-on," said Beth Just, president and CEO of healthcare consulting firm Just Associates, Inc. "And you make some big strategic mistakes because of that."

Edited by Alisen Downey

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