From the Medicare/Medicaid EHR incentive program to ACOs and HIEs, information exchange is the centerpiece of nearly every initiative designed to bend the health care quality and cost curves. The ability to access real-time clinical data wherever a patient encounter takes place drives these improvements by informing care decisions, avoiding preventable adverse events, eliminating diagnostic and therapeutic duplications and shortening lengths of stay.

Ensuring the integrity of the data upon which this transformation depends is paramount to success, both at the individual hospital level and health care system-wide. But as more systems are interfaced, significantly higher volumes of data are flowing into patient records and other clinical, administrative and financial systems. An error at any point along the way – an incorrect birth date, transposed digit in a Social Security number, missed middle initial or misspelled name – quickly snowballs as the information feeds from one system to the next.

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