AHIMA 2017: Patient Matching and Global Friendships

The dust has settled from AHIMA 2017. I had a great time cultivating friendships old and new, all while discussing the need for accurate, trusted patient and provider identification. And, of course, I had a couple good meals while in Los Angeles.

Here are two of my biggest takeaways.

Patient matching is as front of mind as ever.

Monday afternoon I facilitated a roundtable patient matching with my long-time friend Michele O’Connor of Collibra. I started the conversation by saying that this topic certainly proves you can beat a dead horse for decades, but I hope that we can stop this beating before I retire. We shared the newest evolutions in the patient matching realm, including auto-stewarding and data enrichment from vendors like Verato, the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and persisted identifiers being created in private organizations. The ONC activities that are testing patient matching algorithms (more about that in a future blog), the CHIME Challenge, and the recent AHRQ and Pew Trust awards to Regenstrief Institute certainly attest how industry interest and momentum around this topic aren’t waning. Perhaps the “dead horse” is getting an even heavier flogging. I was shocked that 60 attended my presentation with Tom Check, CEO of Healthix, during the last slot of the last day.  Good engagement and questions from the audience despite this ending timeslot.

People appreciate that we live in a global society.

My favorite part of attending national and international conferences is seeing friends I may not have seen in years. It is truly amazing that, despite the differences in culture and nations, we face such similar problems, including patient engagement, workforce development and improving data quality to support healthcare transformation. The friendships among colleagues are so valuable, both personally and professionally.


The global similarities were particularly evident in the short, informal  IFHIMA meeting we held within the AHIMA conference and in sessions within the international tracks.  Angelika Haendel, IFHIMA Immediate Past President from Germany, and I presented pay for performance approaches around the globe.  IFHIMA announced the release of a whitepaper Advancing Information Governance:  a Healthcare Imperative and the 19th IFHIMA Congress in Dubai, UAE November 17-20 2019.

As always, I left reinvigorated by all my colleagues are doing to advance data quality and patient and provider identification – and impressed by all that remains to be done.  See you at AHIMA 2018 in Miami September 23-26, 2018!!