doctor and patient talking
June 08, 2016

Preventing Patient Data Mismatches

With a mature medical image exchange platform deployed across a healthcare enterprise, external imaging data from any number of sources can flow into the local network at any point of care. Users in every ‘ology can directly receive and view studies from referring sites, patients and from physical media (CDs and DVDs), and link it to the patient’s record in the EHR or import it to the PACS/VNA.

There are countless benefits to this level of timely, decentralized access to outside exams. It boosts clinical efficiency and care coordination by ensuring providers have advanced access to critical patient information. It improves timeliness of care by allowing providers to make medical management decisions earlier. It can reduce unnecessary repeat procedures, which may be performed simply because a prior cannot be easily accessed. And, because studies are instantly and universally accessible, without needing to be in the PACS, it can reduce the number of studies that must be imported.

When exam data is interoperable across networks, and anyone in the healthcare enterprise can access external studies, it is critical that the exchange technology include a mechanism to safeguard against reconciling external data to the wrong patient record in the EHR or PACS. The exchange platform should include functionality that ensures clinical end users can not inadvertently link an outside study with the wrong EHR record, and medical imaging staffers can not import a study to the PACS unless it matches an order. Without such safeguards in place, it is possible that an external study could be associated with the wrong patient record in the EHR or PACS, with the downstream effect of providers potentially viewing data for the wrong patient.

Inherent to the lifeIMAGE platform are advanced features that help our customers uphold a culture of patient safety at their institutions. These features give administrators of the image exchange platform the ability to define and configure patient demographic mismatch rules to ensure users adhere to safety measures.

Preventing exam mismatches at the end-user level

Through our EHR integration, lifeIMAGE provides a proactive patient identity check that will warn the user when demographics on an external exam do not completely match the demographics of the patient record. Recognizing that warnings may not be enough, the system can be configured to completely halt certain types of users when demographics do not meet matching criteria.

  • External data is compared against patient name, date of birth and gender data in the EHR
  • Administrators can define matching requirements and permissions on a group-by-group basis, which will determine how the system reacts when a demographic(s) mismatch occurs
  • Users can be warned of a mismatch with the option to proceed, or can be entirely stopped with the option to contact an administrator for authorization
  • User audit reports allow administrators to review mismatch override activity 

Preventing mismatched data from entering the PACS

Though the image exchange platform makes exams from referring sites and CDs instantly viewable by care providers, without first needing to be imported to PACS, at some institutions, a high volume of external exams must eventually make their way to the PACS for archival. In these situations, a single PACS gatekeeper may reconcile hundreds of exams per day. New with the next LILA release (4.2), lifeIMAGE can be configured to prevent these users from inadvertently importing a study that is not a perfect match to an order.

  • External data for patient name, date of birth and gender is compared to the orders in your RIS or EHR
  • Users can be warned of a mismatch with the option to override, or can be entirely stopped with the option to contact an administrator for authorization
  • Designate users who have the ability to authorize a PACS import, even when data is not a match


Interested in learning more? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact us at

headshot placeholder

Jackie Leckas

Job Position