Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Wonder How Well We Will Do With This With The NEHRS. It Is Not Easy.

This interesting article appeared a short while ago.

Data integrity essential for HIEs, says AHIMA

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 08/16/2012
CHICAGO – Ensuring data quality is not a trivial task, say the authors of a new paper on health information exchange and data quality from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Ideally, the health data in an electronic record should be accurate, up-to-date and complete, "but unfortunately the real world is far from ideal."
"High-quality data requires a very clear understanding of the meaning, context, and intent of the data – unambiguous and, ideally, standardized computable definitions of data that can form the basis for future safe decision making," accordin to AHIMA HIE practice council members who contributed to the white paper: Linda Bailey-Woods, Teresa M. Hall, Aviva Halpert, Steven Kotyk, Shirley Neal Letha Stewart and Susan O. Torzewski.
The new paper, “Ensuring Data Integrity in Health Information Exchange,” is part of AHIMA’s Thought Leadership Series.
The paper’s authors say the ultimate goal of any HIE should be accurate identification of the patient. HIE patient identity is normally based on three things: the patient identifier as a cross-reference profile that matches patients by cross-referencing IDs; the patient demographics query profile, which queries a central patient information server; and patient administration management, knowing where the patient is, was, or is going.  
In addition the HIE should assign a unique patient/person identifier by using advanced record matching techniques – for example, probabilistic algorithms and manual processes – as needed, according to Bailey-Woods and her colleagues.
Nine influences have been identified as industry standards: system interfaces, algorithms, unique identifiers, business processes, data accuracy, data quality, training and medical devices. Very high MPI duplication rates have been identified in all arenas. Meeting industry standards regarding data quality could therefore produce tremendous benefits both in terms of monetary savings and quality of care, say the authors.
"Quality information is essential to all aspects of today's healthcare system, so improving the quality of data, information, and knowledge is paramount as we transition from paper to EHRs," they write. "Many errors and adverse incidents in healthcare occur as a result of poor data and information. In addition to threatening patient safety, poor data quality increases healthcare costs and inhibits health information exchange, research, and performance measurement initiatives."
More here:
The paper is well worth a close read by all those who are interested in seeing the NEHRS actually deliver on even the most limited of promises. Remember the NEHRS is a tweaked HIE at heart!
The bottom line is that creating a trustworthy and useful system is not as easy as it might seem.