Medical Practice: Evaluating Address Quality


A physician technology services company had a request by one of their managed practices for an address quality analysis of their patient records. The practice was having problems locating people after providing services. Butler Data Solutions was contacted for help.


After complying with HIPPA regulations, a file was provided to Butler Data Solutions for evaluation. It contained approximately 63,000 records. The file was processed and reviewed, with detailed reports generated. Analysis showed a 44% error rate in the address information retained by the practice.

Analysis of their Data Quality
  63,000 records from a rural practice
  27,870 records with invalid and/or undeliverable addresses
      5,500 records identified as having moved by the USPS
         4,600 new addresses were available

11,500 records with an address that is also listed as another
             patient's address. 5,000 addresses were identified
             with multiple last names at the same address. Identifies
             moves not in the postal database or beyond their 48 month
             window. Mailing to these addresses may be a HIPPA violation.

      7,950 addresses identified as incomplete/inaccurate by the USPS
      2,040 addresses not currently receiving mail.
                - delivery refused
                - new housing not in USPS database yet
                - a hold was placed on mail delivery by the recipient
         880 addresses marked as "Vacant" by the Postal Service

     212 was the average number of moves per month


With a 44% error rate, an action plan was developed to establish a continuous, address quality improvement program. The program included these services from Butler Data Solutions:

  • Standardize addresses per postal regulations quarterly
  • Provide new addresses for movers, where available, quarterly
  • Identify closed PO boxes
  • Identify patients that moved, left no forwarding address
  • Identify addresses listed as vacant by the USPS
  • Manually move non-address information to an appropriate non-address field
  • Manual correction of address elements to get better match and coding rates
  • Identify addresses that are "bad" and cannot be matched to the US Postal database
  • Manually update records, utilizing information provided from postal yellow stickers on returned mail. Usually stashed in a box under someone's desk
  • Provide the necessary reports and data identifying incorrect address information
  • Work with office staff so they can make informed decisions about possible changes and corrections


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