Health information management (HIM) is defined as the practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality patient care. HIM departments are vital to both the financial and clinical health of any hospital, directly responsible for:
• Preparing, indexing, and imaging all paper medical records
• Releasing patient information
• Analyzing active medical records to ensure all diagnoses are accurately documented
• Processing documents for aftercare agencies to facilitate follow up and continuity of the client’s care
The specter of duplicate medical records and overlays in healthcare complicates and burdens HIM departments who bear the burden of identifying and reconciling these records to ensure patient safety, timely reimbursement for care, and protected health information (PHI) accuracy. In fact, a recent American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) survey recently revealed that:
“…over half of HIM professionals routinely work on mitigating possible patient record duplicates at their facility, and of those 72 percent work on mitigating duplicate records weekly. Contributing to the issue, less than half (47 percent) of respondents state they have a quality assurance step in their registration or post registration process, and face a lack of resources to adequately correct duplicates.” (source: http://bit.ly/1OdjkQO)
The explosion of digital healthcare has drastically increased the number of touchpoints where patients and clinicians can access PHI, raising the bar for HIM to ensure that medical data is clean and complete and free from duplicates and overlays.
To learn more about how duplicate medical records and overlays impact HIM departments, we invited Erin Head, Director of HIM for a Florida hospital to discuss the impact of duplicate medical records and overlays on work flow, the number of full time equivalents (FTEs) required to reconcile, HIPPA repercussions, and if biometric patient identification can help to eliminate and sustain patient data integrity in healthcare. Topics covered include:
• How does duplicate medical record reconciliation impact HIM workflow? What other job responsibilities are sacrificed due to duplicate/overlay reconciliation?
• What is the average FTEs HIM spends reconciling a duplicate? An overlay? What kind of financial impact would it have on the hospital if FTE’s that are currently cleaning up duplicates and overlays could be reallocated to more revenue generating activities like coding?
• How has the shift to quality vs. quantity based care impacted the responsibilities and sense of urgency for HIM?
• Do you feel ONC cost estimate of $60 per duplicate record is low or high compared to your own experience?
• Can you describe the impact on HIPAA violations that duplicates/overlays cause? If a hospital releases information to wrong patient, what is the cost to the hospital?
• How has the introduction of the patient portal complicated management of duplicates?
• How would implementation of a biometric patient identification system help to lower the burden of reconciling duplicates and overlays and allow HIM to focus on your core responsibilities?
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Here is a one minute clip from the podcast: