Address affairs causing healthcare hiccups: Part 1

Healthcare insurance form
Benson Ehlert
Benson Ehlert
November 7, 2023

Why accurate addresses matter to healthcare professionals

The healthcare system typically relies on human entry for its data entry. Whether the information is added by the customer, a receptionist, a nurse, or even a doctor, there are a lot of areas for the information to be misentered. Not only that, but hospital staff members frequently edit or enter additional information following the patient's first visit. The constant editing and entering of data by a human results in more than just a tiny typo now and again. 

If you work in the healthcare system, it’s likely not a secret that your database is a mess. It’s, truthfully speaking, that mess, not your fault. Cluttered and inaccurate data sets have a lot less to do with careless human entry and a lot more to do with a lack of address-validating software.

Did you know that there are just over 500 commonly used street suffixes or abbreviations in the United States alone? That's information straight from USPS’s website, and it’s only one area of a patient's profile that can be munched up. 

A patient's street address may be mistyped, causing their bills to return to your office, or worse, become a HIPPA violation as they reach the wrong person.


Costly risks of operating sans address validation

There are plenty of costly risks to be made if your address database consists of 100% human-entered information and the above only accounts for accidental input by humans. 

Additionally, the database debacle exists because address data is constantly changing and evolving. Street names change, suffixes and abbreviations are not uniform, businesses are relabeled, buildings are knocked down to make way for apartment complexes, rural areas are developed, businesses expand and move to a new office, and the list goes on and on. How are you and your team supposed to be able to keep up?

The answer is simple: Offices and businesses can clean up the mess (and avoid the mess from occurring on any future data entry) by employing address standardization and validation. 


The software solution to address problems in healthcare

This is where Smarty's address data tools come in. In healthcare, Smarty has been able to help with address standardizing and validating practices, decreasing costs related to shipping and routing, decreasing HIPPA violations related to sending PII to incorrect addresses, and increasing patient confidence in those companies and businesses. 

The American Red Cross is a commonly referred to success story when it comes to the benefits of using Smarty’s address standardization. Here's a snippet from a case study focused on them.

"The Smarty tool has been fundamental in helping us clean the data and build our models,” said Jake Janecek, Red Cross Project Manager. “Being able to reliably understand where the fires are actually occurring and where we’re delivering our services is huge for us."

They were dealing with house fire data coming from several different departments. These addresses were typically not standardized, and some were not even considered valid. 

Using Smarty US Address Verification, the Red Cross team was able to clean up, consolidate, and standardize all of the mailing addresses received from the fire departments. They uploaded addresses in bulk for verification and used the latitude/longitude information to geocode and create accurate maps.

With an accurate database of address information in hand, the Red Cross partnered with DataKind, a non-profit data science group based out of the Washington, D.C. area to create a home fire risk map and predictive models. 

The American Red Cross has been using Smarty tools for about 5 years.

Additionally, Kibage, an in-home care platform, saw incredible growth after implementing Smarty’s US Street Address API.

They noted that the ability to validate addresses with an Address Line 2 was something that many other competing address APIs didn’t offer. However, their main client base was typically older and retired folks who lived in condos or apartments, places where Address Line 2 is a critical component for navigating precisely to the client in need.

Jeff Collison, the CEO and Co-Founder of Kibage, stated, “The Smarty modern technology made the choice very easy. Integration was super simple. It’s everything we needed and wanted.”

There are so many more glowing recommendations and case studies to be found on exactly why we do what we do. You can read those address validation success stories here.

Where to go for address help in healthcare software

If you work in a software company that provides quality tools to physician offices, address standardizing and validating tools will only increase your product's value. Think of how much more likely a hospital system or general practice group would agree to use and purchase your products if they helped professionals avoid all the chaos that comes with addresses. 

In this three-part series, we hope to get you on the validated track to standardized data sets that would impress even the pickiest inspector. 

We have also released a sparkling new ebook to help you and other healthcare professionals understand how address validation can improve workflow, increase revenue, and grow your reputation as a reliable and equitable provider.

You can download the ebook here.

Clean out your current database with US Address Verification, and ensure that any future data input is clean at its entry points with US Autocomplete

Want the true key to elevating patient care and advancing professional fulfillment? Let’s get you started on some address validation, STAT.

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