The Patient Identity Imperative

I suspect the patient identification challenges are about as close to being solved as interoperability . . . perhaps in my lifetime. I say this not to be a curmudgeon, but to be pragmatic, as there is no silver bullet. For decades we’ve been talking about better patient identification practices and technology, with the latest conversations being led by CHIME, AHIMA, ONC, and other industry organizations and luminaries.

blog3BodyImageMeanwhile, while all this talk is happening, care is still being delivered. Analytics and reports – which impact payments and financial planning – are being compiled. Patients are being engaged in their care and accessing their information. But through it all, patient safety may be compromised due to basic errors of identity.

I commend ONC for addressing this issue in their Interoperability Roadmap and specifically establishing a target metric for organizations to achieve. Their goal of achieving no more than a 2% error rate by 2017 and a 0.5% error rate by 2020 is lofty – but essential to advancing other components of the Interoperability Roadmap. Organizations can march to these targets if they plan strategically, apply innovation, and recognize that this investment has a profound impact on all operational and strategic initiatives.

Project Sequoia has also advanced this conversation and its importance with their report, A Framework for Cross-Organizational Patient Identity Management. Their framework approach provides great structures and metrics, but requires considerable effort by many organizations to advance patient matching and data exchange.

But it’s time for innovation and alternative approaches that can be applied today, lest we reach the end of my lifetime and still be talking about this challenge.

I’ll review the industry drivers, recent industry activities, and share perspectives from many healthcare segments in the webcast, The Patient Identity Imperative, on July 27.  I hope you will join me and Joaquim Neto from Verato as we explore the issue and innovative solutions that can be applied today.