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Geisinger drives M&A success with patient identification from Rhapsody


Geisinger Health


Danville, Pennsylvania, United States


Organization type

Large integrated health system with 10 hospital campuses, 25,000 employees, and over 600,000 health plan members 


  • Increased operational efficiency through automation 
  • Ensured scalability and smooth patient experience through M&A 
  • Improved data quality with a 98% match rate  
  • Reallocated 5 FTE resources to higher-value work  
  • Reduced costs by 90% to resolve eligible duplicate patient records 

The customer:

Geisinger Health

Geisinger, one of the nation’s largest integrated health services organizations, serves more than 3 million residents throughout 67 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, as well as southern New Jersey. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 25,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, 10 hospital campuses, 130 clinic sites, and a 600,000-member health plan — all on a unified electronic health record (EHR) 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 $14 billion impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies, Geisinger is widely recognized for its innovative use of the EHR and the development of innovative care delivery models. Geisinger also founded and participates in the Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE), as well as the Pennsylvania Health Information Exchange.  

The challenge:

Creating a single source of truth for their data and aggregating across many silos to open a digital front door that puts the person at the center

We’re working with a digital front door, and we want the patient experience to be phenomenal,” said Kim Chaundy, associate vice president of applications and interoperability at Geisinger. “When someone comes into the organization, we know the person and we know all the attributes that are tied to that person. We’re making sure that they feel that they’re heard, they’re part of it, they get access to all their data, and they understand where their data lies.” 

Gaining this level of understanding is complex, especially for  a health system that also includes a health plan, education system, and pharmacies. Complicating matters, Geisinger has grown rapidly by acquiring other area hospitals. 

To unify EHRs and streamline care coordination throughout the Geisinger network, each hospital that comes onboard and all its physician practices migrate to an Epic EHR system.  

Yet healthcare data increasingly exists outside the EHR. Geisinger integrates with many systems outside its EHR, including Salesforce and KeyHIE. They operate in a complex technical environment with more than 750 applications in use. 

Introducing data from external systems reinforced the need to have a single source of accurate and reliable data to support their digital front door initiative — One Geisinger. 

“We gain efficiency when we have one source compared to multiple sources that we need to manage and cleanse daily,” Chaundy said.  

“We took that holistic approach,” she added. “Let’s think outside the box and put the person at the center. Let’s use one source as our record and let that penetrate through the system as our mechanism to identify our person for analytics, for our PACS system, for HIE, for everything.” 

When every individual is uniquely identified and correctly matched to one and only one record, organizations can open a digital front door that improves patient experience and reduces risk across their care journey. There are also tremendous benefits in information sharing and care coordination across organizational boundaries. 

Standardizing processes, integrating silos of data, and creating a single source of truth for their data is essential to putting the person at the center to provide coordinated, quality care with efficiency. When managing identity data, most hospitals use only the basic patient identification features embedded in their EHRs, which can produce duplicate record rates of up to 20% because of changes in demographic information or manual data entry errors. Even when the acquired entity’s system is deduplicated, identities are maintained disparately across systems.  

The solution:

Rhapsody Interoperability Suite
Rhapsody EMPI

Geisinger needed to create a single best record and to do that needed to reconcile identities across acquired hospital’s patient records, the Geisinger database, and external systems for further de-duplication and 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 increase efficiency and improve patient experience. To begin the reconciliation process, 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 Single Best Record (SBR) contains the most current information for each patient, as well as historical information, such as previous names (aliases), addresses, or phone numbers. Each of these SBR records include an Enterprise Unique Identification number or 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. 

Rhapsody Integrate

The Geisinger team also uses integration solutions from Rhapsody for seamless data exchange and integration across their vast ecosystem. Chaundy explained that Rhapsody integration solutions are “fundamental to our strategy to increase IT efficiency throughout their organization.” 

With Rhapsody EMPI powered by Rhapsody integration solutions, Geisinger has the flexibility, scalability, and reliability they need to power their digital front door and increase efficiency across their organization. 

The results:

Increased efficiency and smooth patient experiences during M&A

>98% match rate for improved data quality

5 FTE resources reallocated to higher-value work

90% reduction in cost to resolve eligible duplicate patient records

Geisinger’s goal was to ensure efficiency and smooth patient experience. With Rhapsody, Geisinger can scale without impacting data quality and ensure its medical records are matched one-to-one for every patient when the acquired system went live with Epic—regardless of how the person entered the digital front door. 

Once the database has been deduplicated, 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. 

Before implementing Rhapsody integration solutions with Rhapsody EMPI, Geisinger staff were manually cleansing about 150 records per day, or 36,000 annually. The initial pilot using Rhapsody automated patient matching process indicated that the Geisinger team will save more than $78,000 per year simply on data cleansing — while freeing up the time of five FTEs to work on more important matters.   

“We can now allow our HIM staff to work on those more complex areas of matching — where they really must dive into it and let the system work for us,” Chaundy said. 

Working with Rhapsody under a united interoperability suite has allowed the organization to operate more efficiently by empowering their team with flexible technology that adapts with them. Ease of communication and vendor responsiveness is another perk they experience by working with a single interoperability partner. 

For further reading: 

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