High level of accuracy in Electronic Health Records (EHR) is critical to improve interoperability, promote health data exchange, and increase health information exchange (HIE). Interoperability Program included in federal initiatives and incentive programs support data sharing among providers for refined clinical decision making. However, patient matching errors can lead to clinical, financial, and administrative consequences. Lack of demographic data standardization may be the biggest hurdle in improving EHR patient matching. Matching records should be an easy task, but with human intervention, errors are bound to happen.
People don’t visit a single physician or a single facility. So, when a patient goes to multiple facilities, each entity may register the person in a slightly different way. The name of the patient may be recorded differently in separate facilities. Irregularities in recording patient data can lead to duplicative and mismatched health records and can lead to hospital spending, delay in patient care and increased risk of patient harm. HHIE leaders are taking steps to reduce the mismatched records by implementing Patient matching as a Service (PMaaS) and provider directory solutions.
HHIE leaders are using EMPI to improve on the current tools. Patients support biometrics as unique patient identifiers. This simple technology can improve matching accuracy. However, experts believe that the use of biometrics will lead to a slew of new problems. Patient privacy regulations must be tightened to comply with HIPAA. Additionally, different organizations often interpret patient privacy rules differently.
Organizations should pay heed while exchanging data elements. The most effective way for organizations to convene the community is to put high pressure across the board to recognize specific use cases. Establishing general agreement requires cross-industry stakeholders to address aspects of standardization.
Morgan Jayne, MD, Div. of Quality and Safety, Clinical Director/Covid Task Force, Piedmont Healthcare, Inc., Atlanta, GA Cooke David, MD, Section of General Thoracic Surgery, University of California, Davis Health, Sacramento, CA; Kpodonu Jacques, MD, Div. of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Beth Israel Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA