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MDM in healthcare

Effective data management is crucial for providing quality patient care, ensuring regulatory compliance, and driving operational efficiency in the healthcare industry. Yet, many healthcare organizations struggle with fragmented patient data, leading to errors, inefficiencies, and suboptimal patient outcomes. Master Data Management (MDM) offers a transformative solution, addressing the challenges of fragmented data and paving the way for coordinated, high-quality care.

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The challenges of fragmented patient data

Fragmented data refers to patient information scattered across various systems and databases within a healthcare organization. A survey by HIMSS Analytics found that a staggering 80% of healthcare data is unstructured. This translates to a chaotic mix of patient records scattered across various systems – electronic health records (EHRs), lab results databases, imaging repositories, and more. This fragmentation can result in:

  • Inconsistent patient records: Different systems might have conflicting information about the same patient, leading to confusion and errors. For example, patients may have multiple records across different departments, each with varying details about their medical history and treatments.
  • Data silos: Departments or facilities may not share critical patient information, hindering comprehensive care. This lack of communication can result in duplicated tests, missed diagnoses, and a fragmented view of the patient’s health.
  • Inefficiencies: Healthcare providers waste valuable time reconciling data discrepancies, which could be better spent on patient care. For instance, administrative staff might spend weekly hours verifying patient information across disparate systems.
  • Compliance issues: Ensuring data accuracy and integrity is essential for meeting regulatory standards like HIPAA. Fragmented data makes compliance more challenging, as inconsistent data can lead to reporting errors and potential breaches of patient confidentiality.

These issues not only impact patient care but also hinder operational efficiency. Delayed access to complete patient information creates bottlenecks, reduces productivity, and increases administrative costs.

How MDM transforms patient care

Master Data Management provides a robust framework for integrating, managing, and governing data across an organization. It establishes a single managed source of key enterprise data by creating a unified master record for each patient, provider, and other critical entities. MDM solutions aggregate information from disparate systems, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

Here’s how MDM can revolutionize patient care:

  • Unified patient records: MDM integrates patient information from various sources into a single, comprehensive record. This unified view typically includes base patient demographics, provider relationships, and can additionally include data associated with medical history and treatment plans, ensuring healthcare providers have access to accurate and complete information. A patient admitted to the emergency room (ER) is easily and accurately identified and linked to their detailed medical history, enabling ER doctors to make informed decisions quickly.
  • Enhanced data quality: MDM employs data quality tools to standardize and cleanse data, removing duplicates and correcting errors. This ensures that healthcare providers rely on accurate and reliable information. Duplicate records of the same patient are merged into a single, accurate profile, preventing errors in treatment and billing.
  • Improved data governance: MDM establishes data governance policies, ensuring that data is consistently defined and used across the organization. This promotes data integrity and compliance with regulations. Proper data governance ensures that patient privacy is protected, and data usage complies with legal standards like HIPAA.
  • Better clinical decision-making: With real-time access to accurate and comprehensive data, healthcare providers can make better clinical decisions. This leads to personalized and effective patient care. A physician can quickly access a patient’s complete medical history and current treatment plan, allowing for tailored and timely interventions.

Benefits of a holistic MDM solution

A robust MDM solution goes beyond creating a central repository. It provides advanced functionalities for:

  • Increased operational efficiency: MDM streamlines administrative processes by providing accurate and consistent data, which reduces the time spent on data reconciliation and error correction. This efficiency translates into more resources available for direct patient care. Streamlining billing processes with MDM can reduce claims denials, improve revenue cycle management, and free up resources to focus on patient care.
  • Enhanced patient safety: By providing a single source for accurate patient data, MDM reduces the risk of medical errors related to incorrect or incomplete information. This enhances patient safety and improves overall care quality. Accurate association of medication records to the correct patient ensures that patients receive the correct dosages and avoid harmful drug interactions.
  • Regulatory compliance: MDM supports compliance with regulatory standards by ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and integrity. This reduces the risk of legal issues and enhances the organization’s reputation. Consistent and accurate data management helps meet HIPAA requirements, protecting patient privacy and maintaining trust.

Key considerations while implementing MDM in healthcare

While MDM offers significant benefits, its implementation requires careful planning and execution:

  • Select high-value use cases: Start your MDM journey by focusing on MDM use case definition. Identify high-value business process improvements and associated tracking metrics.
  • Assess current data landscape: Understand the current state of your data, identifying gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Involve key stakeholders, including IT, clinical staff, and management, to ensure buy-in and collaboration.
  • Design the right MDM solution: Compose an MDM solution that fits your organization’s needs, considering factors like scalability, ease of integration, and support.
  • Develop data governance policies: Establish clear policies for data management, defining roles, responsibilities, and standards.
  • Continuous improvement: MDM is not a one-time project but an ongoing process. Review and refine your MDM practices regularly to adapt to changing needs and technologies.


Fragmented patient data poses significant challenges to healthcare organizations, impacting patient care, operational efficiency, and regulatory compliance. Master Data Management is not merely a technological tool but a transformative force in healthcare. By implementing MDM, healthcare providers can enhance clinical decision-making, improve patient outcomes, and achieve operational excellence.

In an era where data drives healthcare innovation, MDM is a critical tool for transforming fragmented data into coordinated care. As the healthcare industry evolves, embracing MDM will be essential for delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

If you want to learn more about how updated MDM systems are the cornerstone for integrating and efficiently utilizing AI and ML enhancements throughout the enterprise, watch this on-demand webinar today. Register now!


Michael Ashwell

VP and GM Data Management, Mastech InfoTrellis

Michael is a seasoned professional with over 35 years of experience in enterprise architecture, solution development, cloud offerings, global sales, and consulting. He spent 30+ years at IBM where he held various roles, including leading the Data and Analytics Lab Services Cloud COE, and developed several key offerings.