I recently caught up with Alex Rodriquez, the CIO at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which serves patients in the northern Kentucky area. The health system was formed in 2008 with the merger of St. Elizabeth Medical Center and two hospitals under the St. Luke’s banner. St. Elizabeth’s is standardizing its clinical IT, using software from Epic. And the merger, Rodriquez recalled, revealed massive duplications in patient identifications. The formerly independent hospitals and their affiliated group practices assigned their own patient identifiers. After doing a data clean-up, St. Elizabeth’s went from 1.6 million patient records to about 750,000. Sometimes duplicate names showed up even within the same health system, as the hospital might use a different identifier than its affiliated group practice. “We now have a common way of identifying patients,” Alex told me.

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