Importance of keeping a clean and standardized MPI A clean Master Patient Index is a huge part of a successful healthcare organization. Therefor, it is very important to identify duplicate records. Duplicate records could cause major issues such as patient safety, risk management, legal, customer service, and other issues. For example duplicate lab tests could be ordered by doctors and preformed , one of the most common being radiology exams because the previous films were not available for comparison. There have been delays in surgery due to lack of available medical history due to duplicate records.
Another common issue with duplicate records is the fact that initial treatment is sometimes delayed. Duplicate record management reports should be reviewed to make sure all of the duplicates have been taken care of and merged properly. One thing that we all need to remember is that the MPI is not an automated process and no particular way of repairing records takes away the human component. Therefore it is important to review all possible duplicates, identify those that need more research and those that can be confirmed as true duplicates. Then verify all possible duplicates that require additional research and reconcile those records.
The HIM supervisor’s role in managing the duplicate processes and workflow is to assign specific tasks to specific staff members, review duplicate management reports, oversee the process of identifying duplicate records, make sure corrections are made and done correctly. They should also try to minimize the causes of duplicates, by looking for patterns. The problem may be created in a specific situation or a specific department. The HIM supervisor might also evaluate current processes for reconciliation of duplicate records and overlaid medical records. The bigger the database, the bigger the duplication problem can be.
The productivity of the duplicate merging process is important to monitor to be sure there is no information being deleted or added in the process. It is also important to monitor it so there is no need to re-run and re-run the same reports to double and triple check that duplicates no longer exist. The organization should set MPI standards and processing standards, as there are no set industry standards. There are EMPI recommendations as seen in appendix A AHIMA recommended data elements. It is very important to set standards based on the recommended data elements in appendix A so that nationally and even internationally, your MPI will be asily read and understood, if needed. It is important that it be similar if not the same as other organizations’ MPIs so if anyone from another facility or organization needs to access patient records from your database, it will be straight-forward. It is also a good idea to follow the same or similar procedures as other organizations so when new staff is hired or transferred, there will not be very much training needed. In closing, it is very important to keep a clean and standardized MPI for many many reasons: ease of use, patient safety, timely treatment, and transferability, not to mention billing and legal reasons.