I changed my mind about pursuing radiology and am currently working toward admission to the Health Information Management Technology (HI13) Associate of Applied Science Degree program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. This blog post is an assignment for HIMT 1250: Health Record Content and Structure. The assignment was to answer the following question:

Identify common errors made in the registration process. How could these errors be avoided or minimized? What is the impact of these errors on patient care?


Registration errors are common in the healthcare industry. Some of the most common mistakes cause duplicate and overlay records. One example would be misspelling the name of a patient in the MPI (Dimick, 2009). A registrar could also mistakenly enter data for one patient into another record for a patient with the same name (Relias Media, 2015).

Other common registration errors involve outdated or incorrect patient data. Sometimes previous outdated data is carried forward to the current encounter (Relias Media, 2015). Such inaccurate data could be wrong patient, provider, and insurance information (Medical Billing and Coding Certification, n. d.). A registrar could also select the wrong doctor who has the same last name as another doctor (Relias Media, 2015).

Registration errors can be avoided and reduced. A registrar should confirm a patient’s identity with a minimum of three unique identifiers and ask if he or she has ever previously been to the facility (Dimick, 2009). Proper communication is critical. A registrar should ask patients open-ended questions instead of closed-ended questions. Photos of patients can be added to the MPI so the registrar can match the appearance of the person with the picture on file (Mattina, 2016). The facility should stay current by updating patient information, and registrars should proofread their work (MB&CC, n. d.). Outdated technology can be limiting. A facility should strive to keep their systems and software updated (Dimick, 2009).

Even simple registration errors can cause horrible patient outcomes. Incorrect or outdated patient or insurance information can lead to denied or rejected insurance claims (MB&CC, n. d.). If a payor denies a claim, the patient would have to pay more out of pocket, and the provider could lose money. Duplicate and overlay records can lead to duplicate and unnecessary testing, avoidable expenses, incorrect diagnoses and decisions, and danger to the patient (Sayles, 2020, p. 72). An example is calculating the wrong drug dosage. If the registrar selects the wrong doctor, then the patient could have an appointment with the wrong doctor, or the wrong doctor could receive test results (Relias Media, 2015). Such errors can, at best, be inconvenient, but at worst, can lead to the death of the patient.



Dimick, C. (2009, Nov.). Exposing Double Identity at Patient Registration. AHIMA. http://library.ahima.org/doc?oid=95372#.X3ELRxSSmM8

Mattina, C. (2016, Sept. 28). Patient ID Errors in Healthcare Are Common, but Preventable. The American Journal of Managed Care. https://www.ajmc.com/view/patient-id-errors-in-healthcare-are-common-but-preventable

Medical Billing and Coding Certification. (n. d.). 3.07: Potential Billing Problems and Returned Claims. https://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/potential-billing-problems-returned-claims/

Relias Media. (2015, Sept. 1). Patients harmed by registration errors. https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/136102-patients-harmed-by-registration-errors

Sayles, N. B., & Gordon, L. L. (Eds.). (2020). Health Information Management Technology: An Applied Approach. (6th ed.). Chicago, IL: The AHIMA Press.




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