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Getting down to Business with Practical Metrics in Healthcare IT

by Andrew White  |  August 29, 2016  |  Comments Off on Getting down to Business with Practical Metrics in Healthcare IT

I noted a healthcare article last week that caught my eye: HIT Thing Why matching patient IDs is a critical challenge.  In a nutshell:

‘ “[T]he Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has set a new milestone for “all organizations that match electronic health information to have an internal duplicate record rate of no more than 0.5% at the end of 2020.” ‘

That sounds like a worthy goal, right?  Especially since (as the article reports), ‘ “[T]he average duplicate record rate for healthcare organizations ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent, and it’s been that high for years.” ‘


When you read the article you will get the same feeling I got – perhaps – that this goal will be daunting for a number of reasons.  More importantly if you read back up the chain the policies that are driving this effort (see How to prepare for the shift to MACRA) you will see that the effort is aligned to reward systems (reimbursement) which is a key tenet of success for a data quality effort.  However, as many of you know, a data quality project to meet a goal is not the same as changing and improving processes that continue to push crummy data into your business systems.

Thus the data quality goal is a worthy target, but without an adequate focus on information governance and information steward.  This will drive change in the business, by the business, for the business.  And the natural focus on technology should be balanced better with a focus on process and business.  However in the case of healthcare I have not seen a great deal of effective information governance, or stewardship, related to patient data.  There are some good things underway but I don’t see the standards bodies talking about what is needed – and therefore organizations have to figure this out themselves.  This makes for a protracted effort….and greater risk.

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Category: data-quality  health-it  healthcare  information-governance  information-stewardship  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

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