18 Years Later… Data Accuracy and Integrity in Healthcare

I was researching topics around data accuracy in healthcare the other day and came across this AHIMA article from 1997 (did we even have the internet back then? J). The article was focused on a growing demand for accurate coded data and as I read the article, I felt that AHIMA was ahead of its time and like I was in a time warp. They were stating the importance of data accuracy and consistent coding to speak about how “these data are used to assess resource utilization and outcomes throughout [accurate-data] the delivery system and to develop plans for the provision of more efficient and effective patient care.”  They go on to speak about the “analysis of outcomes has become a major focus because of the relationship between better outcomes, improved efficiency, and lower healthcare costs. Improving the quality of care and managing diseases in such a way that expensive complications can be avoided reduces healthcare costs.” Sound familiar to anyone?

Another direct quote from the article lists the “Activities that are essential to a healthcare organization’s success and depend on the accuracy and integrity of health data include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategic planning
  • Quality of care
  • Outcomes analysis
  • Reimbursement
  • Critical pathway development
  • Wellness initiatives
  • Utilization monitoring (services and resources)
  • Statistical and financial analysis
  • Research
  • Marketing
  • Case management
  • Identification of duplicate or medically unnecessary tests
  • Allocation of resources
  • Economic credentialing
  • Identification of "best practices"
  • Practice pattern analysis
  • Performance comparisons with other healthcare organizations
  • Case-mix analysis
  • Clinical decision support

If accurate data in healthcare systems have been and continue to be attributed to all these success factors, then why are we satisfied with just “attaching PDFs” to our patient records? Why are we not doing more to be sure the valuable clinical data is getting out of those attachments and into our systems so that we can accomplish these things? In the meantime, we would make it easier for physicians to find this data and use it more effectively to treat patients, increasing the quality of care and patient satisfaction. By using an advanced clinical data capture and workflow solution you can achieve this efficiently. Look for our webinars on this topic to help you see how.


About the Author: Ellen Bzomowski

With 20 years of experience in data capture and voice recognition, Ellen’s experience has focused on achieving higher efficiency and automation in getting data where it will be most useful to an organization. At Extract Systems, she continues to focus on the same ideas and works to get the word out about how Extract Systems’ advanced data capture and redaction solutions make more data valuable and accessible, while securing anything that is private. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University and lives and works in Boston.