Feb. 19 – 23 – Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL: IMT will be back in Orlando for HIMSS 2017, the place to network and connect with health IT professionals.

To arrange a meeting with IMT while at the conference, please contact John Wieler: john@imt.ca

We will be hosting our annual IBM Master Data Management and Governance Reception at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, located just a 5 minute walk from the Orlando Convention Center.  Join us and our business partner IBM on the Miramar Patio, an authentic old Havana courtyard, where we will discuss innovative healthcare solutions for information governance, analytics, and master data management while enjoying the tastes and sounds of Cuba.

Register soon, as space is limited.

Event Details:

Location: Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

Date: Tue. February 21st

Time: 5-7pm

Come and speak to our experts about real-life lessons learned, see a demonstration of these solutions, and network with other IBM Master Data Management and Governance users just like you.

To register for the IBM Master Data Management and Governance Reception, go to: Online Registration Portal

To register for HIMSS 2017, go to: www.himssconference.org

You may already know that IBM MDM v10.1 goes out of standard support in April 2018– but here’s your wake-up call. As you plan and consider the timing, resources, and budget required for upgrading, ensure you are getting the maximum value from this upgrade by asking several questions. Some of these questions were covered in our recent webcast, but here’s some additional food for thought:

How is the customer-centric view of data being used today? And, most importantly, in the future?

Almost every industry prioritizes strategic initiatives advancing customer-centricity —  especially healthcare, banking, and telco. Buzzwords like population health, consumer self-service, consumer engagement, and consumer experience clearly indicate that MDM is critical to strategic and operational priorities. Competition, consumer engagement, consumer demands, and analytics are fueling this priority. Consider how well your MDM data already supports this imperative, while being agile in how MDM is constructed.

Which business and technical stakeholders should participate in the upgrade planning?

Make sure your business stakeholders actually have a stake in your MDM technology. Historically (and sadly), MDM was frequently seen as an information technology project. Today, your business stakeholders should be actively engaged in defining not only the data that is used by MDM, but also the work processes surrounding MDM. If your business users are not engaged, an upgrade is a great opportunity to bring them into the fold. Without this engagement MDM risks being viewed as an IT project that may not be useful in a tight economy with budget constraints.

How can you use MDM technology more efficiently?

An upgrade presents a good opportunity for conversations about better managing the workflow of the data used by MDM – and it’s a great way to engage your business stakeholders. IBM MDM v 11 includes business process management (BPM) software to create automated workflows that can increase efficiency, decrease manual interventions, and create an audit trail. This powerful addition to IBM MDM (with no license fee required) enhances the productivity and communication amongst stakeholders when tackling merging or linking decisions, training, and coordination of data integrity.

How does MDM relate to your Data Governance program?

If you have a formal Data Governance program today, or are considering one, make sure MDM is included. Since the genesis of MDM is to master data (through merging or linking) that is used by many applications, systems, processes, and analytics, it just makes sense that MDM is a key component of a Data Governance program.

IMT offers several optimization services to help you maximize the value from your MDM deployment or upgrade. These include

  • Data Quality Review, focused on the MDM data including accuracy, validity, and distribution of source-specific and linked data.
  • MDM Health Check, primarily geared to the hardware and software environment supporting IBM MDM.
  • Data Governance Strategy Planning, focused on how the MDM data supports a strategic and operational Governance Program
  • Active Integration, which integrates the probabilistic algorithm into search, thus higher data quality is captured at its origination

We outlined these considerations and others in a recent webcast that can be found on demand here. Call IMT or email us at info@imt.ca to discuss these services and your future upgrade, as April 2018 is less than 18 months away!

 

 

 

 

 

From a fine red wine to a sharp cheese, some things in this world only hit the “sweet spot” when allowed the time to develop and improve with age. This is rarely the case, though, when we discuss IT or Enterprise Data Systems and processes. In fact, planned obsolescence and Moore’s Law keep technology in a constant cycle of “out with the old and in with the new.” But what if we told you that sometimes Data Governance and IT technologies that are well established have the ability to get better with age, instead of breaking down? So, sit back (grab a nice glass of Cabernet and some cheese) and listen while we explain how the right policies and procedures, combined with the right technologies, can prove to get better with age.

Recently IMT invited Michelle Majerus, the Director of Health Information Management and Privacy Officer at Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) in Rochester, Minnesota, to share her team’s data governance and stewardship experiences. This was the second time Michelle presented her metrics to the IMT and IBM InfoSphere MDM community. In her first presentation, Ms. Majerus explained to us how OMC had leveraged the adoption of IBM InfoSphere MDM as an EMPI (Enterprise Master Patient Index) and IMT Resolve:ID to lower the rate and rate of data quality errors in their environment by 66% within a year.

View the recording

66% reduction in new Duplicates and Data Quality errors sounds pretty good… and for the team at OMC that was a moment to celebrate. However, the team didn’t stop there. They made sure that they stuck with these new governance and stewardship processes. OMC stayed true to the plan and, as Michelle Majerus noted in the September 21, 2016 webinar, that the numbers continued to get better over the second year, yielding a 73%reduction in Duplicates and a 77% reduction in data quality errors.

You may ask, “but why hasn’t the EMPI and Active Registration with IMT Resolve:ID completely removed the problem for OMC?” You might be surprised by the answer. It actually has. There were 0 (zero, the big nothing, nada) duplicates or overlaid records created in the sources that integrated to the EMPI with Active Registration. But there is one source in the OMC ecosystem that, because of a multi-tenant hosted model, does not support Active Registration integration to Resolve:ID. All of the recent duplicates, overlays, and data quality problems facing OMC are from that one source that isn’t leveraging Active Registration. Even with the one source creating duplicates occasionally, Olmsted now has less than .01% patient duplication.

Download the case study

Also during the webinar, Lorraine Fernandes, Founder and Principal at Fernandes Healthcare Insights offered commentary on trends in healthcare that relate to getting Patient Identification right from the onset.  Her thoughts and commentary on the Webinar are also found on her blog here.

Olmsted Medical Center has shown that with a commitment to proactive governance and stewardship, a healthcare organization can do better than “maintain” a healthy EMPI, they can make it better with age!
You might like to enjoy a good glass of wine (we like Elderton’s Ode to Lorraine) and a nice aged cheese (we like Kerrygold’s Reserve Irish Cheddar) while you view the Recording of our Sept. 21st Webinar and the Case Study.

If you would like to learn more about how IMT can help your organization see lasting benefits from Active Registration, please contact us.

June 8-10th, 2016 – Lansing Center, Lansing, MI: Connecting Michigan for Health is Michigan’s annual three-day conference dedicated to advancing the electronic sharing of health information to support healthcare delivery and payment transformations.  Speakers and attendees from around the U.S. convene to share major industry directions, developments and opportunities to make health transformation a reality.  Learn more at: http://connectingmichigan.net/

The theme of this year’s conference is:

“Constructing the Future of Health Information Sharing: Emerging Patterns for Innovation, Health Reform and Quality Improvement.”

We are excited to share our latest innovations that support health information sharing in Michigan.  If you would like to meet up with us in Lansing, click here to schedule a meeting.

June 3rd – 8th, 2016 – Vancouver, BC: IMT will be attending e-Health 2016, Canada’s ONLY National e-Health Conference and Tradeshow, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  The e-Health conference offers top-quality learning, opportunities to network, and people that value quality health information as well as effective integrated system solutions. Since its inception, the Conference has attracted a steadily increasing attendance, now upwards of 1,500+ delegates. The Trade Show provides an excellent opportunity for members of the health community to meet and share ideas. Join us for the 2016 e-Health Conference in Vancouver, Canada.  Click here to learn more.

Feb. 29 – Mar. 4 – Sands Expo Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV: IMT will be back in Las Vegas for HIMSS 2016, the place to network and connect with health IT professionals.

We will be hosting our annual IBM Master Data Management and Governance Reception at Aquaknox, located in the Venetian Hotel and Resort.  During the reception we will discuss innovative healthcare solutions for information governance, analytics, and master data management while enjoying fresh seafood – flown in daily.

Register soon, as space is limited.

Event Details:

Location: Aquaknox @ The Venetian – Las Vegas

Date: Wed. March 2, 2016

Time: 5-7pm

Come and speak to our experts about real-life lessons learned, see a demonstration of these solutions, and network with other IBM Master Data Management and Governance users just like you.

To register for the IBM Master Data Management and Governance Reception, go to: Online Registration Portal

To register for HIMSS 2016, go to: www.himssconference.org

Photo credit: The Strip @ Night via photopin (license)

If you’ve ever asked questions about MDM in the past, you might have gotten answers like these: “It’s always been done that way.”  “It is what it is.”  “That’s how they showed me to do it when I went to Boot Camp.”  While the “tried and tested” best practices of MDM have been in place for over 15 years now, there are some evolving customer demands that have us thinking about the normal approaches to configuration and questioning some of the default behavior patterns.

In this post we will discuss three questions that may cause you to rethink how you are doing MDM as well.

  1. What should happen to the non-surviving data when a merge occurs?
  2. Should having anonymous values trigger a score that reflects that data is different?
  3. Do all tasks need to be resolved from Inspector?

What should happen to the non-surviving data when a merge occurs?

In the default behavior of IBM InfoSphere MDM’s Virtual Hub (formerly known as Initiate), when two records are merged one is noted as a Survivor and the other becomes Obsolete.  The Obsolete record becomes completely deactivated – you cannot search for it, it will not be compared, and the record will reject all incoming updates.

Sounds fine, right?  But think about the data that the Obsolete record held before the Merge. In the default behavior, only the data that belonged to the Survivor record is searchable and usable going forward.  We recently complete a project for a Canadian Province where they questioned this approach.  Their point – a very valid one – was this: Shouldn’t the values from the Obsolete record be added to the Survivor’s historical information so that you can search on that data to retrieve the Survivor?

Wow, what a simple question?  This question led to a relatively straight-forward solution.  When two records are merged, the demographic data from the Obsolete record is copied into Survivor with an “Inactive” status.  Voilá!  Now, the data from the Obsolete record has a life beyond merger.  Those demographic values are now searchable and scorable in the context of MDM.

Should having anonymous values trigger a score that reflects that data is different?

Many of you are familiar with the IBM InfoSphere MDM concept of “Anonymous Values” where commonly used “fake” values such as BABY, CONFIDENTIAL, (999) 999-9999, or 01/01/1901 are treated as if they are NULL during analysis.  The theory is that by removing these values from the logical processing, we get a more accurate assessment of matching the records.  When it comes to attributes like Dates, Phones, and Identifiers the anonymous processing works as you would expect. However, analysis on Names does not always behave the way might intend when those anonymous values are stripped out.

While anonymous Name handling has always been promoted as a way to clarify differences, in reality the removal of the anonymous Names from MDM matching leads the Member Comparison process to register an Exact Match on when the other Names are factored in.

Record 1 Name Tokens:

Record 2 Name Tokens: Match Result: Overall Result:

BABYGIRL (Anonymous)

AMANDA No comparison EQUAL
R R

Exact

DAVIDSON DAVIDSON

Exact

 

Instead of listing those values as anonymous during standardization, you can set up scores in the weight tables, where those “Anonymous” names earn a score of Zero when comparing.  That way, when one record has the “Anonymous” name and the second record has the real name, you get a result that indicates that they are “Different” and ends up adjusting the score accordingly.  If both records have the “Anonymous” name, you will see that they are “Equal” but no score will be added.

Record 1 Name Tokens:

Record 2 Name Tokens: Match Result: Overall Result:
BABYGIRL (Anonymous) AMANDA Disagree

Partial

R

R Exact
DAVIDSON DAVIDSON

Exact

 

Remember, though… anonymous values also play a role in searching your Buckets.  So, you should still have these Anonymous names listed in a secondary list that is attached to your Name Buckets.  The end result will be worth the reconfiguration!

Do all tasks need to be resolved in Inspector?

This is a question we get asked a lot… and the answer is surprising to many.  No, you don’t have to work all of your tasks in Inspector.  But let us clarify… while the tasks don’t always have to be worked in the MDM tools, they should still be handled appropriately.

When we really look at the majority of tasks, they fall into two types: Potential Linkage and Potential Duplicate.  Potential Linkages (which are records from different sources with questionable scores) should be worked from the Inspector interface to establish the correct linking between records.  However, when it comes to Potential Duplicates (or records from the same source) resolving the records from Inspector is not always the best way to handle the process.

If you resolve Potential Duplicates, either with a merge or a clarification that records are different, the MDM engine creates a Rule.  Those rules act like a legal precedent, upholding the prior decision each time data changes call into question the validity of the match.  In essence, the MDM engine will have to ask for permission each time it reviews those records in the future.  Lots of rules can cause your probabilistic engine to behave more like a deterministic one, which slows down the engine and leads to unexpected results.

On a related note, if you merge two Potential Duplicates in Inspector, you still need to go back to the Source and do the same thing.  But if you merge from the Source, it automatically merges in MDM.  One step vs. Two… pretty simple.  Merging from the Source will not only perform the merge in MDM it will also remove the Task from the queue.  We have many clients who are using the Task list as a report, then going through and working the Merges (where the clinical data also resides) instead of in Inspector.

Keep questioning!

We want to leave you with a final thought.  Keep questioning… keep asking why something works a specific way, why a seeming “default” setting is there, and why the “out of the box” configuration is doing what it’s doing.  In most cases the answer is simply “because that’s how it’s always been done.

If you want to optimize your MDM, please reach out to IMT at info@imt.ca and we would be happy to help you find the best practices that work for you.