As we discussed in Data Integrity – Part 1: 3 Crucial Elements, Data Integrity can be broken out into three crucial areas: Completeness; Accuracy; and Consistency. Part 2 of our Data Integrity guide is all about implementing strategies to increase the integrity of your data and smooth the workflow for front/back office and medical staff.
Plan out whether workflows should have a pop-up list, an alert indicating incorrect information, or a general report for staff to reconcile. Management and IT should set time to forecast and develop demographic and electronic health record reports and then schedule when to run the reports. A team should be dedicated to run these validation reports (monthly is optimal). Most practices will compile and review their data at the end of a reporting period, scrambling to make deadlines. And, these are not the same reports that are run for the CBO, quality measures, grants or management. Once you have come up with these elements, review them six, twelve or eighteen months down the road to see if they are still valid or need to be enhanced or replaced. Data changes, as should the reports.
Create a report repository. Many times, in larger practices staff are unaware of other departmental reports, whether they are validation or general reporting, thus often recreating them. For example, a family practice workflow may have data validation reports which could be enhanced for the behavioral health or OB/GYN workflows without needing to start from scratch.
You have invested in an electronic health care system. To get the greatest return on investment, I strongly recommend that you prioritize training. Training should not be limited to upgrades or onboarding new staff. It is something you do as routinely as running validation reports. It can be communicated in a variety of ways and not just in a classroom. Eliminate bad habits, short cuts that may not populate other areas within the system due to working away from the intended workflow creating incomplete data. Make training your best friend.