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Episode 158: Slow and Steady, How Health Care is Progressing Toward Value Based Care. Lynn Carroll, HSBlox

May 4, 2023

New Toolkit Promotes Standardized Approach to Patient Matching

Written by Article by Robert Tennant, VP Federal Affairs, WEDI

Along with many health care organizations, WEDI celebrates May 8 – 12, 2023 as Patient ID Week. The lack of a national, standardized approach to identifying patients and their records has a significant impact on the care delivery process, including issues related to health equity, patient care and safety, the administrative and cost burden to the health system, privacy and security, and public health.

As a member of the Patient ID Now coalition, WEDI supports a lifting of the current congressional hold on funding to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earmarked to address the issue of identifying patients. Although the 1996 HIPAA legislation included a mandate for a national patient identifier, rising concern about the impact of an identifier on patient record confidentiality led to the congressional prohibition. The concern raised by the Coalition is that, absent a standardized approach to matching patient records, errors will occur that could cause harm to the patient.

The Coalition has been urging Congress to lift the prohibition on HHS working on this issue, an issue that has become increasingly important with the expansion of electronic record sharing and the growth of health information exchange. Each year the Coalition has called for the repeal of Sec. 510 of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill that hinders progress on patient matching. WEDI believes it is time for Congress to repeal the ban and allow the health care system to move forward to protect patient safety.

Go here to access the Patient ID Now coalition’s toolkit that contains suggestions on how your organization can raise awareness of this issue and urge policymakers to address the patient identity issue.

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