It has taken me over one year to complete the Idaho providers database within the WIM datahub. Not only are there more providers in Idaho than in Montana and Wyoming, but as I was building Idaho, I was maintaining the Montana and Wyoming provider data. Thankfully the hard part is over. WIM is officially a datahub of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana health care providers. Now that the database is built, I move into data maintenance mode. With use of my hyper-organized maintenance routine, it’s like summer is starting all over again.
So, how did the WIM Idaho provider database come to be? Well, I am a little data crazy and will share how this database was created. — IT WAS ALL MANUAL (and so is the maintenance) —
Step 1: Create a table of practices. First I started by creating a table of practice locations – any active independent and organized health care facility was added to this table. Practice name, physical and mailing address, website, phone, fax, facility type etc
Step 2: Create a table of providers. I then went through the database of practices and found out which providers are practicing at the location. This was done utilizing independently maintained websites (hospital directories, independent doctor websites). I do not utilize any doctor directories that are maintained by organizations outside of the facility. Those websites utilize the National Provider Identifier datasets, which are not proactively maintained and unreliable. I utilize the state license dataset only to make sure I review all providers with a license to practice in Idaho.
Step 3: Create a Providers to Practices relational database. As the providers are identified as practicing at a facility, the provider is “assigned” to a practice location. This allows a bi-directional relationship.
Ste 4: Overkill. Once all of the practices had been reviewed to find providers, I reviewed all of the providers that are licensed in Idaho to find their practice location. This allows me to find any practice locations I initially missed.
So now that the database is complete, I start maintaining the data. I do so by reviewing the practices and provider relationships by county. This will be done every 3 to 6 months. I also utilize daily tracking tips such as Facebook posts by health care practices, Google alerts, news articles, paper surveys, NPI tips, etc. It is extremely high maintenance, but the best way to accurately track where providers are seeing patients.