The average hospital loses $17.4 million annually in claim denials based on misidentification, according to the 2016 Ponemon Misidentification Report (Ponemon Institute). The study states, “On average, hospitals have 30% of all claims denied and an average of 35% of these denied claims are attributed to inaccurate patient identification or inaccurate/incomplete patient information.” Denials adversely affect both cash flow and AR days.
Duplicate Patient Records Are a Big Problem
According to Patricia Consolver, CHAM (Certified Healthcare Access Manager), “Incorrect identification of patients by registering a nickname, for example, instead of the legal name used on the health insurance policy, may result in denials, subsequent appeals, and delayed payments. Duplicate records may also lead to the repetition of lab or diagnostic tests already performed but documented in a different record. If the costs of these tests have already been paid by the insurance company, they will not be covered a second time, resulting in unreimbursed care for which the hospital cannot collect.”
Providers also incur the cost of correcting these errors. According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation, duplicate medical records for a single patient, called overlaps, cost up to $1,000 each to correct. Overlays, when two patients’ records are mistakenly merged, cost up to $5,000 to correct because of the administrative time required to search and sort data.
Best Practices for Preventing and Catching Misidentification
Implementation of an EHR with an enterprise master patient index (EMPI) helps to solve these problems going forward, but a retrospective scrub of the EMPI is necessary to find and correct past overlaps and overlays. This is typically performed as a step in the implementation of an EHR.
In its “SAFER Self-Assessment Guide,” CMS offers several examples of best practices to maintain clean records:
CMS (2016). Self-Assessment Patient Identification General Instructions for the SAFER Self-Assessment Guides. Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/sites/safer/files/guides/safer_patient_identification.pdf
Ponemon Institute. 2016 National Patient Identification Report. Retrieved from https://pages.imprivata.com/rs/imprivata/images/Ponemon-Report_121416.pdf
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Learning & Performance
When you enact HealthStream's quality compliance solutions, you can do so with the confidence your healthcare organization will meet all standards of care.View All Quality & Compliance
Fulfill compliance requirements with a variety of programs and courseware designed to address critical regulatory requirements as well as educate staff to recognize and mitigate risks.View All Products
HealthStream offers professional training and education on how to best optimize your reimbursement process within your healthcare organization.View All Reimbursement
Learn about our advanced resuscitation training solutions. Our solutions are designed to help improve patient outcomes.View All Resuscitation
Expand the decision-making skills and effectiveness of your healthcare workforce with HealthStream's clinical development programs and services.View All Clinical Development
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Products
Learn more about HealthStream's Provider Credentialing, privileging, & enrollment solutions.View All Credentialing
Make sure your healthcare staff can schedule out appointments and work schedules with ease using HealthStream's line of software solutions.View All Scheduling