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HIMSS & HHS collaborate on patient identification and data matching

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WASHINGTON, DC - Dec. 17, 2013 - Through HHS’s existing “Innovator in Residence” (IIR) program, HIMSS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are collaborating to move forward on the creation of a nationwide patient data matching strategy.

HIMSS is currently recruiting an IIR to develop a vision, strategy, and implementation plan for the near-term deployment of consistent patient data matching in health that builds on the body of work from HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and healthcare community partners. The IIR will also assess the longer-term applicability of identity management methods, processes and technologies currently in use in healthcare and other sectors.  

The person hired for this two-year opportunity will be a HIMSS employee who will work onsite in the office of the HHS Chief Technology Officer, to foster further collaboration with stakeholders across the healthcare community and in collaboration with ONC.

“HIMSS is honored to work with HHS on this initiative,” said Lisa Gallagher, HIMSS Vice President of Technology Solutions. “To improve the quality and safety of patient care, we must develop a nationwide strategy to match the right patient to the right record every time. The IIR will create a framework for innovative technology and policy solutions to help provide consistent matching of patient health records and patient identification. We look forward to collaborating with HHS to find the optimal candidate for this opportunity.”

“I encourage anyone who wants to have a substantial and transformative effect on healthcare to apply for this exciting opportunity,” said Bryan Sivak, HHS Chief Technology Officer. “The work of the IIR will lead to establishing metrics of patient matching technology approaches and create a pathway for evaluating solutions. When looking back, successes of the IIR will include engaging stakeholders to adopt approaches that will set in motion improvements in technology that improve consistent and reliable patient matching of records.”

HIMSS and other organizations have long worked to bring attention to the need for collaboration between the government and the health IT community to identify and adopt a consistent nationwide patient data matching strategy. According to industry estimates, 8 to 14 percent of medical records include erroneous information tied to incorrect patient identification—a serious patient safety risk. In addition, the cost to correct these mismatches is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

HIMSS is one of several groups participating in an ONC Patient Data Matching Initiative announced in September. The project’s recommendations were part of this week’s discussion on patient data matching, and provide additional insight into identifying the common attributes that achieve high positive match rates across disparate systems, and begin defining the processes and best practices that are most effective to support high positive patient matching rates utilizing the common attributes.


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