CHIME redirects patient identification efforts

November 20, 2017
Medicare Web

A national effort to solve patient misidentification errors is suspended, the project’s sponsor announced on November 15. The National Patient ID Challenge was created by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) almost two years ago with the goal of finding a method to accurately identify patients 100% of the time.

The National Patient ID Challenge did not achieve CHIME’s goals, and the association opted to move those resources to other patient identification strategies, according to the association’s announcement.

The challenge was headed by the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust, a CHIME affiliate. CHIME plans to work with the trust to develop a patient identification task force. However, the cooperation of government and industry leaders will be essential to any future success, the association said.

Accurate patient identification can be a challenge. Incorrectly recorded demographic information, duplicate records, and erroneously merged records can cause patients to be misidentified. Mismatched records can lead to inappropriate and costlier care.

In October, five senators asked the Government Accountability Office to examine the costs and risks associated with mismatched patient records. The senators also urged the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, an HHS department, to develop a national patient matching strategy. However, legislation passed in 1998 banned HHS from investing funds to create a national unique patient identifier strategy unless authorized by Congress.

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