The increased demands for data sharing and interoperability and health information exchange, especially across different provider and practice settings and classification systems, increase reliance on data mapping tools and techniques.
Those who use data maps should understand their role and context, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, to ensure the reliability of the data the maps provide. A new thought leadership paper from AHIMA, "Data Mapping and Its Impact on Data Integrity," offers recommendations to help users think through the risks and unintended consequences of data map use before any projects are planned.
“Data maps are a powerful tool for those who steward health information, but it’s important to use the maps to their best advantage,” says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CAE, FAHIMA.
Written by a team of AHIMA volunteers and staff, the paper provides guidance to avoid adverse outcomes involving the use of maps, including tips for map maintenance, mapping process and tools affecting data integrity, and best practices to avoid data mapping errors.
The increase in data mapping projects is the result of the need to link disparate electronic data systems in a rapidly changing environment. Mapping projects are valuable in a variety of situations where data elements from one code or data set are compared to another set and evaluated for equivalence of meaning. To optimize the use of data maps, the paper recommends the following best practices: