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Cleaner data for better healthcare technology and facility management

August 13, 2019
Parts And Service
From the August 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Data cleanup process and standards
Once you have mechanisms in place to prevent the input of additional bad data, begin the process of cleanup. I have seen numerous examples of data issues, which I’ll illustrate through the example of a GE AMX 4+ Portable X-Ray Machine. Of the databases we examined in one project, GE was represented 19 different ways, the device model name was represented 8 different ways, and the device category was represented 17 different ways. As a result, we had a grand total of 2,584 different permutations for representing a single device! You can see why it is important to adopt a standard and stick with it. Whatever system you decide on, the goal is to get rid of duplicates and enable easy reporting. It is recommended to rely on one of the two widely-adopted available standards:

• ECRI Universal Medical Device Nomenclature System (UMDNS) — This is currently the most complete list our industry has as a standard, and has been a great resource to many who use it entirely or to adopt their own version. The format starts with the most general functional description and adds more specific descriptors separated by commas. FDAs Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) has used this as the basis for its system.

• FDA Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) and Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) — The purpose of the GMDN and GUDID is to provide a single, global nomenclature system by which authorities can regulate medical devices. Each listing has an associated code which represents the generic descriptor. The structure is regulated by ISO 15225 and is like the VIN number structure utilized by the auto industry that can track recalls and user information. The Unique Device Identifier is made up of both a Device Identifier and a Production Identifier.

There are several companies, including Accruent, who can do data cleanups for you. If you decide to tackle the data cleanup yourself, start with exporting a report to Excel with just manufacturer, device category and model.

For manufacturers, remove things like Inc., Co., LLC, Ltd, etc., as they provide opportunities for variance without adding value. Similarly, remove all divisions, unless you have a strong business case for not doing so. Fully spell out words like “products” or “instruments”, or just remove them if they aren’t necessary. Check for acronyms against spelled out names. Lastly, decide your manufacturer rule — to keep up with acquisitions or add in the same model with the new manufacturer list. You can also create an Also Known As (AKA) field to capture these variations.

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