A newly released framework calls on the federal government to create and implement a national strategy around patient identification that protects patient safety and privacy.
A new framework released by the healthcare coalition Patient ID Now calls on public health authorities to create and implement a national strategy for accurate patient identification.
The Framework for a National Strategy on Patient Identity: A Proposed Blueprint to Improve Patient Identification and Matching 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.
Patient identification and matching is important for a lot of reasons. On the revenue cycle side, patient identification errors are a leading cause of denials.
There are also issues involving patient safety and high costs. Patient ID Now points to the vaccine rollout for recent examples of each.
For instance, 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.
According to the framework, a national strategy for accurate patient identification 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, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the principles of Self-Sovereign Identity, and Privacy by Design.
- Define the minimum standardized data set needed for patient identification and matching.
Patient ID Now's members include 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, among many others.
"The need for accurate patient identification is a critical public health and safety issue. Release of this Framework for a National Strategy on Patient Identity is an important step forward toward an effective national strategy on patient identification," said Intermountain Healthcare vice president and chief information officer Ryan Smith in a statement. "This essential but missing functionality would add significantly to providers' ability to manage care safely, and if it were in place, it would assist in effectively battling the coronavirus."
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.