Framework for a patient ID national strategy introduced

May 4, 2021

Patient ID Now, a coalition of more than 40 leading healthcare organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance, released its Framework for a National Strategy on Patient Identity: A Proposed Blueprint to Improve Patient Identification and Matching

In the framework, the Patient ID Now coalition calls on the federal government to closely collaborate with the private sector and with state, local, tribal and territorial public health authorities to create and implement a national strategy around patient identification that protects patient safety and privacy. The framework offers perspectives from across the health ecosystem and provides the building blocks from which the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could build a national strategy that ensures accurate patient identification. Within the framework, the coalition outlines a number of actions HHS should consider if it moves forward on a national strategy. These recommendations fall under topic areas such as accurate identification and match rates, privacy, security, standardization, interoperability, data quality, and health equity and inclusion.

Some of the recommendations put forth by the coalition state that a national strategy should:

·Provide guidance and standards on the calculation of error rates across health IT systems and organizations and identify minimum acceptable levels of accuracy;

·Leverage public and private sector resources to address patient privacy, including materials from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the principles of Self-Sovereign Identity, and Privacy by Design; and

·Define the minimum standardized data set needed for patient identification and matching.

Since the vaccine rollout began, coalition members have received reports of vaccination registrations causing thousands of duplicate records within a single system, costing some hospitals and health systems at least $12,000 per day to rectify these errors. There are also reports of some vaccination sites being denied additional vaccines because patient record systems incorrectly show patients as not having received previously administered vaccinations.

“The lack of a national strategy to improve patient identification and matching continues to put patients at risk and compromises our response to public health emergencies, as the current COVID-19 pandemic has painfully revealed,” said Blair Childs, Premier Inc. Senior Vice President of Public Affairs. “Advancing policies laid out in this framework will improve the nation’s pandemic response and overall public safety. It will also remove obstacles to care coordination and nationwide interoperability, as well as save millions in associated costs for the healthcare system.”

Patient ID Now represents patient groups, physicians, providers, health information professionals, health information technology companies, and public health, and is committed to advancing a nationwide strategy to address patient identification. On Capitol Hill, the coalition is currently advocating for the repeal of an archaic ban within the federal budget that hinders HHS’ ability to advance efforts to address the vital issue of patient misidentification. The Framework released is the next step in advancing the country toward a system that accurately connects patients to their health information. 

AHIMA has the release.