Thursday, February 27, 2014

Patient Identification and Matching Report Released by ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the final version of the Patient Identification and Matching Report. The report evaluated best practices and current trends in using electronic health record systems to accurately identify patients and exchange information between providers, patients, and caregivers. Mistakes in properly identifying patient health records put patient safety at risk and has resulted in too many patient deaths. 

The drafting process for the report included an industry environmental scan with input from stakeholders at meetings, on calls, and requests for submitted comments and recommendations. NAHAM was an active participant throughout the drafting process and provided recommendations focused on improving patient safety that are featured in the report. NAHAM's recommendations can be found on page 76 of the report. 

The report resulted in 10 findings that ONC will use as they move forward with the process of improving electronic health record systems and patient matching to improve patient safety.The findings are below.


1. Standardized patient identifying attributes should be required in the relevant exchange transactions. 

2. Any changes to patient data attributes in exchange transactions should be coordinated with organizations working on parallel efforts to standardize healthcare transactions. 

3. Certification criteria should be introduced that require certified EHR technology (CEHRT) to capture the data attributes that would be required in the standardized patient identifying attributes.

4. The ability of additional, non-traditional data attributes to improve patient matching should be studied. 

5. Certification criteria should not be created for patient matching algorithms or require organizations to utilize a specific type of algorithm. 

6. Certification criteria that requires CEHRT that performs patient matching to demonstrate the ability to generate and provide to end users reports that detail potential duplicate patient records should be considered. 

7. Build on the initial best practices that emerged during the environmental scan by convening industry stakeholders to consider a more formal structure for establishing best practices for the matching process and data governance. 

8. Work with the industry to develop best practices and policies to encourage consumers to keep their information current and accurate. 

9. Work with healthcare professional associations and the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guide initiative to develop and disseminate education and training materials detail best practices for accurately capturing and consistently verifying patient data attributes. 

10. Continue collaborating with federal agencies and the industry on improving patient identification and matching processes. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to see some progress made on the patient data matching and ID front, even if it is only recommendations. This remains one of the most pressing and important issues in the industry and we are looking forward to presenting a case study of a hospital network using iris biometrics for patient ID and how they have leveraged that technology along the care continuum!