Lynn Stoltz

Modern identity data management for public health with Rhapsody EMPI

by Lynn Stoltz

Senior Product Manager in Strategy & Business Development, Rhapsody

Managing identity data is a critical challenge for public health departments of all sizes. The challenge requires a solution that can not only streamline data management processes and provide a comprehensive view of patients, but that can also ensure this data is current across all supporting systems. 

Rhapsody EMPI helps public health organizations do exactly this. This blog explores how one public health organization, San Mateo County Health, modernizes its identity data management practices.  

“For the first time we could understand who receives services from both our medical center and our behavioral health programs.”

Eric Raffin, chief information officer, San Mateo County Health 

San Mateo County Health: A success story of data transformation 

San Mateo County Health System, a safety-net provider for Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured individuals in northern California, faced the challenge of limited interoperability due to operating four different EHR solutions. In addition to resolving duplicate records in each of the four EHRs, San Mateo County Health needed to unify identities that were common across these systems, as many patients had records in multiple EHRs. Recognizing the need for a robust data exchange platform, San Mateo County Health sought a solution that could manage patient identities across disparate systems.  

Rhapsody EMPI emerged as the solution of choice. With the implementation of Rhapsody EMPI, San Mateo Health achieved a significant reduction in duplicate records—from 6%  to less than 1% —improving data accuracy and achieving a more complete and unified view for each person, which in turn helped improve the quality of downstream care delivery. 

According to Eric Raffin, chief information officer, “The first tangible benefit provided by the EMPI was the identification of the co-managed clients we have across multiple operating divisions. For example, for the first time we could understand who receives services from both our medical center and our behavioral health programs. This is important because many people that have a chronic disease diagnosis also have a serious mental health diagnosis.” 

Unlocking the power of social determinants of health (SDOH) 

In addition to more effective management of patients across diverse facilities, Rhapsody EMPI allows San Mateo County to incorporate social determinants and patient-generated health data into medical records. This gives care teams immediate access to SDOH data to consider as part of their care planning and delivery. San Mateo County Health was able to gain insight into the complex connections between chronic diseases and mental health diagnoses, painting a more holistic picture of each patient’s needs. This newfound understanding enhanced care coordination and improved health outcomes for patients by facilitating more personalized care. 

“The data we gather across these programs complements the extensive clinical data in our EHR systems,” Raffin said. “The richer the content our providers see, the more informed their decisions become.”  

Rhapsody EMPI for public health: A more comprehensive approach to identity data management 

Rhapsody EMPI offers a comprehensive and reliable solution tailored to the unique needs of public health organizations. With Rhapsody EMPI, administrators, program managers, and IT managers can manage identity data and unlock valuable insights to improve patient care and population health outcomes. 

Rhapsody EMPI offers a proven person-matching approach to drive accuracy, even with incomplete or outdated data. And unlike some other identity data management solutions, Rhapsody EMPI offers two capabilities that are particularly critical for success in public health 

1. A unique approach to identity data resolution 

The Rhapsody EMPI approach to patient data matching is unique. It relies primarily on a combination of more than 20 different algorithms—including probabilistic—that have been proven, refined, and optimized for 20+ years. It then leverages reference data to augment the resolution process. 

Rhapsody EMPI starts with base matching that is optimized for your specific population.  We believe that “one size fits all” is not the right approach for healthcare, and that failing to accommodate the nuances of each organization can lead to incorrect matches, which cascade to impact patient care and financial performance. From there, Rhapsody EMPI will leverage high-quality, vetted, and healthcare-focused reference data that has been aggregated from a breadth of data sources. 

Why leverage reference data in this way? For most record checks, reference data offers little to no additional value. This is particularly important for public health, where the community is comprised of individuals that have limited or no credit data available to reference: young children, the elderly, recent immigrants, and unhoused individuals.  

Quite often, these members of the community do not have enough reference data available for an effective match to take place, leading to incorrect results, and the potential for negative impacts on patient care. 

2. Integration expertise 

Identity data resolution is only half of the battle. Public health organizations need the most current, accurate, and comprehensive identity data available to all connected systems to ensure that all those who manage and deliver care across the community are doing so armed with the right information.  

Rhapsody EMPI facilitates meaningful data exchange with every system that impacts the health of your community, no matter which standards and protocols that system might use.  Rhapsody EMPI is powered by the KLAS-leading Rhapsody integration solutions. An overwhelming 47 out of 50 state departments of health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), use Rhapsody health solutions for data exchange. 

The bottom line 

Managing identity data is crucial for public health organizations to help ensure those responsible for the health of the community are doing so with efficient use of resources and with confidence that they are armed with and sharing the most accurate information available for each member of the community. 

The experience of San Mateo County Health exemplifies the transformative impact of Rhapsody EMPI in improving data management practices. By integrating social determinants and patient-generated health data, organizations can unlock valuable insights that lead to better care coordination and improved health outcomes.  

For further reading: 

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