Standardizing Record Type Categories

Standardizing Record Type Categories

Jul 4, 2018
  • Author:
    Lisa Rothmuller, CPCS
    AVP, Clinical Solutions and CVO Services
    Lisa works with clients and organizations to provide Strategic Account Management and best practice and solution consulting. Lisa has a bachelor's degree in Economics/Finance from Bentley University in Boston, Massachusetts and currently resides in San Diego.

Record types are commonly used by a system to categorize data within an area. When large quantities of record types occur; data entry, managing and reporting becomes very cumbersome. Establishing general categories of record types can reduce the struggles and frustrations that may arise.

Common Causes

Merging Databases: Databases which use different naming systems or abbreviation methods for data types will find, once merged, have an inflated number of data types.

Unlimited User Rights: Users with limited training may not be able to execute a thorough search for the correct data types they need and will therefore add a new variation of the data type to the table.


During an audit, an organization determined that it maintained dozens of license types, affiliation types, address types and record status types. By using a more detailed definition for license types, it was found the organization used types titled: California license, Nevada license, Arizona license, etc., as opposed to simply State Medical License.


Feeding Downstream Systems: When moving data is required by the system, inconsistencies within the data types and formats can impact the ability to export or feed other downstream systems.

User Frustration: Systems with too many record categories can cause users to become frustrated when attempting to enter data. Reducing categories reduces the stress that can occur for some users who aren’t sure which type is most appropriate for the particular scenario.

Communication Issues: Communications with providers can be hindered when a system has too many record types. If the query sending the communication does not include the specified type, an important communication may be missed, or a provider may be inadvertently removed from receiving necessary information.

Best Practice

Audit Periodically: Periodic audit of record types and data entry ensures record type categories do not become out of control. Utilizing global update features allows a quick and easy cleanup when needed.

Limit User Control: Limit the ability to create new types to experienced and appropriately trained users. Additionally, develop a process by which new record types are vetted prior to creation.