Case studies

Geisinger Health


Geisinger Health


Danville, Pennsylvania, United States


Organization type

Large integrated health system with 13 hospital campuses, 2 research centers, and 583,000 member health plan

The customer:

Geisinger Health

Geisinger, one of the nation’s largest integrated health services organizations, serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, as well as southern New Jersey. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 583,000-member health plan — all on a unified electronic medical record (EMR) platform.

Fundamental to Geisinger’s success is its vision of becoming a national model for high-quality and cost-effective medical care. With an estimated $12.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies, Geisinger is widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models.

Geisinger has grown substantially and rapidly by acquiring other area hospitals. To unify EMRs and streamline care coordination throughout the Geisinger network, each hospital that comes onboard and all its physician practices switch to an Epic EMR system. Provided that every individual is uniquely identified and correctly matched to one and only one record, this brings tremendous benefits in information sharing and care coordination across organizational boundaries.

The challenge:

Combine patient databases with acquired systems and remove duplicate records

Most hospitals use only the basic patient identification features embedded in their EMR and EHR systems, which can produce duplicate record rates of up to 20 percent because of changes in demographic information or manual data entry errors. Even when the acquired entity’s system is de-duplicated, patients most likely received care from both the acquired hospital system and Geisinger, each with their own separate associated records.

With health systems growing through acquisition, it is important to identify and remove the duplicate records that may exist within the acquired hospital, and within the now-shared facilities pool of identities. The elimination of these records is essential to providing coordinated, quality care with efficiency.

The solution:

Rhapsody EMPI

Geisinger needed to de-duplicate each acquired hospital’s patient records, and then compare the cleaned records with Geisinger’s database for further de-duplication and record linkage. Geisinger’s goal was ensuring its medical record numbers match one-to-one for every individual when the acquired system went live with Epic.

To achieve its vision, Geisinger turned to Rhapsody EMPI to de-duplicate and resolve patient records at each acquired hospital prior to go-live. To begin, the entire patient database was loaded into the EMPI, where sophisticated patient matching algorithms linked medical records together under an Enterprise Unique Identifier (EUID). The system then produced a report that displayed potential matches for unlinked patients, enabling Geisinger’s EMPI team the ability to quickly reconcile. The Geisinger team then produced a report for that facility so that it could merge all duplicate medical records.

The results:

Geisinger lets the EMPI do the heavy lifting when acquiring new facilities

Geisinger’s goal was to ensure its medical records matched one-to-one for every patient when the acquired system went live with Epic.

Once the database has been de-duplicated, the Geisinger team imports it and runs reports against its own database, uncovering individuals who have received care in both health systems — even when records don’t match exactly.

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