Remember the old adage Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat? While perhaps redundant to repeat twice on the same day, I think we can all agree that repeating multiple times a week is a pretty good idea. The same can be said of provider data management within your health system. Especially management of the data on your physicians who are constantly on the move.

We uncovered an interesting insight at a focus group of C-suite health IT leaders we hosted last week. Many of those in a traditional IT function or role aren’t really concerned with the integrity or quality of the data running through the health system. It’s their job to warehouse and host the data. That’s where it stops.

I can certainly relate, because in the very early days of my career, I was a database administrator.

My job in that IT function was to make sure we had plenty of disc space, that permissions were set, that indexes were in place, and jobs and queries were clipping along at a fast pace. My job was most definitely NOT the content of the tables. If a phone number or address was wrong, that was a problem for another team.

So, Whose Problem Is It?

The quality of the data itself usually falls to health information management (HIM) departments, who generally overtaxed just trying to keep up with patient data. Provider data management falls to the wayside except when absolutely necessary, like after a merger. And at that time, it’s often only cleaned up once. That’s like washing your hair only when you get married.

Not a good strategy—the implications of poor provider data management can be more far-reaching than you know.

Your physician contact information is the lifeblood of a hospital system. Since the quality of that data isn’t always a priority while IT is trying to stabilize the EMR and HIM is keeping up with duplicate patient records, who owns it? That is still up for debate, but one thing is certain—someone needs to.

Cleanse and Augment

Keep in mind — provider data management is not a one-time cleanse and then you’re done. The key to maintaining provider data quality is repeated cleansing and augmenting of the data. It’s more than ensuring the data you already have is accurate. It’s also important to fill in the gaps of missing information. More than 40 percent of provider records include missing or outdated information — information sometimes critical for care coordination.

From billing and credentialing to, most importantly, improving outcomes and the patient experience, the quality of this data impacts every critical process within your health system’s walls. Bad data can cost businesses between 10-30 percent of revenue, not including the potential impact on patient care.

When you discharge patients from your care, make sure the provider data is accurate. One of the key steps you can take now to enhance both data governance and operational efficiency. This will ensure coordination of care and prevention of unnecessary readmission costs due to poor quality follow-up as a result of bad physician contact information.

So remember…cleanse, augment, repeat!

Learn the real cost of bad provider data.