When a patient arrives at a medical facility, they inherently believe that every possible precaution will be taken to protect them from unnecessary harm or injury. Unfortunately, what may seem like the most innocuous of errors, creating duplicate medical records and overlays jeopardizes patient safety when patients could be mistreated with missing or incorrect information in their medical records causing unintended injury or illness. Duplicate medical records and overlays can also lead to reimbursement losses, reductions in medical data integrity, administrative inefficiencies, resource drains, liability concerns, and perhaps most significantly, compromised care delivery and threats to patient safety. Adding fuel to the fire, the biggest threat to the creation of duplicates and overlays in healthcare is when a hospital adopts an electronic health record system (EHR) and these numbers threaten to grow exponentially as hospitals share more information through Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs).
The continued threat that duplicate medical records and overlays place on patient safety and hospital liability causes unintended injuries and illnesses from patient data matching errors. Despite the absence of patient identification industry standards and a lack of national leadership on mandating unique patient identifiers, the healthcare industry is increasingly deploying modernized patient identification technologies that are drastically reducing the number of duplicate medical records and overlays to help secure patient safety, reduce the overall cost of care delivery, and improve medical data integrity.
Technologies such as iris biometrics for patient identification and smart cards are rising stars of securing patient data matching accuracy and provide healthcare providers with competitive advantages to help stop duplicate medical records and overlays. This Infographic on the effect that duplicate medical records and overlays have on the healthcare industry is a stark reminder that this problem still persists and negatively impacts patient safety, medical data integrity, and the cost of care delivery but modern patient data matching tools are available to help prevent their creation and keep patients safe.