September 13, 2013
As it exists now, the process of matching patients to their EHR record is flawed. In an effort to improve patient safety and care coordination, Federal health information technology policymakers are working to achieve an industry consensus on the best methods for patient matching. A recent Modern Healthcare article reports that the hope is that the new process ensures that providers have the right EHR data for their patient. This will limit the chance that a provider will mistakenly look at the record for another person with the same name or birthday.
Currently, probabilistic matching is used to pair patients with their health records. This method applies an algorithm that uses a few defined data fields. The plan expands the data fields to increase the likelihood that the correct patient is matched to the correct EHR record.
The widespread use of EHRs to store patient data, increases the importance of data security. According to a recent report, 1.84 million people have been affected by medical identity theft. The seriousness of this type of identity theft is discussed in an article published by Healthcare IT News. The article calls attention to the fact that this type of identity theft is different from financial identity theft, in that it can impact healthcare treatment and may be life-threatening.
Victims of medical identity theft who responded to the survey, reported the following:
According to a recent cost survey report conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), health IT costs are on the rise as a result of EHR use. ”Implementing and optimizing information technology is a significant investment for physician practices,” Derek Kosiorek, principal, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group, said in a statement.
The article, published by Healthcare Informatics, goes on to describe the reported increase in median staffing costs as a result of adding business operations and clinical support professionals to the practice.
It is obvious that there is more to EHR implementation than the software and systems required. Staffing, training, education, and maintenance are large components. With all of the HIT initiatives imposed on providers, there is bound to be a continual increase in costs.
Once the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 occurs, many providers will see rejections of claims. ICD-10 Watch published a list of ways to mitigate the risks of claims rejection. Their suggestions include: