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Address management mishap affects health patients in Canada

Paul Newman Archive

Address verification is an important practice in any industry, as no professional wants to deal with the repercussions of acting on incorrect contact information. When organizations send mailings to the wrong people, it's a logistical nightmare - they have to apologize for their mistakes, fix their technical issues and then correct their errors by getting material to the right consumers at the right addresses.

In every sector, this is a pain, but in health care, it's especially frustrating. For one reason, people are very sensitive about their private health information being shared with the wrong parties, and no health firm wants to deal with the fallout of consumers becoming outraged about their data being leaked. Additionally, putting data in the wrong hands can lead to legal problems for organizations that aren't careful.

Unfortunately, mistakes happen. Consider the case of eHealth Saskatchewan, a health firm in central Canada, which mistakenly sent diagnostic imaging results for 10 patients to the wrong addresses.

It was initially unclear what caused the mailing mistake - whether it was a technical malfunction or human error. Eventually, officials with the health firm came out and said that an employee's mistake led to the erroneous mailing - according to spokeswoman Susan Antosh, a phone number had been entered incorrectly, setting off a ripple effect that impacted the records of 18 patients across three different health districts.

Antosh stated that eHealth Saskatchewan was taking full responsibility for the error, and she has reinforced company-wide that cutting down on such mistakes is vital because of their impact on patients.

"We reiterated how important it is those numbers be entered correctly," Antosh said, according to the Canadian Press.

While cutting down on human error is obviously important, companies should also consider the high-tech approach to eliminating address management errors. By improving data quality with specialized software, organizations can avoid such mistakes in the future.