ONC to define patient matching best practices

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health and IT has recently launched a project to smooth data exchange between disparate technology systems.

This collaborative project aims to seek out common denominators and best practices to improve patient marching by private healthcare systems as well as federal agencies.

This initiative has to main focuses which we will cover here.

The first focus is to define common attributes that bring positive match rates across disparate systems.

“These attributes may include common fields such as name, date of birth, address, sex, cell phone number and new criteria such as emergency contact and insurer,” Stevens wrote.

The second focus is to define and refine the processes that are most effective at supporting a high positive patient matching rate.

Stevens says that environments scans and widespread literature reviews will be done to pave the way for the Patient Matching Initiative.

Key partners that will be included in the ONC project include: the Federal Health Architecture, HIMSS, CHIME, the Bipartisan Policy Center, HealtheWay and the EHR/HIE Interoperability Work Group.

CHIME, which is one of the key partners for the initiative stated that “it will lead to saved lives, improved population health and lower costs. Patient data-matching is a foundational component to the exchange of electronic health information — which, in turn, is a critical component for improved care coordination and quality improvement,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell. “Despite years of development, no clear strategy has emerged to accurately and consistently match patient data. As we advance interoperability and health information exchange, we are delighted to see ONC take action to ensure the right data is matched with the right patient. This is a necessary, concrete step to bolster patient safety.”

CHIME is already working on a similar program that “takes a leadership role in establishing a patient matching policy/strategy that is adopted by federal officials, state policymakers and other relevant audiences, such as the vendor community.

The key partners have formed a workgroup and they aim to identify implementation practices, data integrity mechanisms, and technologies that will limit the number of patient matching errors in the future.

“False negative and false positive error rates are unacceptably high, despite new generations of algorithms and biometric technologies,” said the workgroup’s chair, Ralph Johnson, chief information officer at Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, Maine, in a statement. “Unintended injury or illness attributable to patient data-matching error is a considerable, and growing, problem in this era of health information exchange. National leadership and consistent standards in this area will set a floor for safe patient matching that will, in turn, help focus industry activity towards improved patient data-matching.”

The workgroup will combine all of their ideas and initiatives and will present a list of recommendations to the ONC later this year.

 

 

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