GAO’s latest report on patient matching: It’s still not easy

The entire level of digital well being data is to facilitate the sharing of patient information, however that’s still troublesome, not simply because interoperability hasn’t been totally achieved, but in addition as a result of matching patient data is still not easy to realize – placing sufferers in danger for incorrect care and likewise posing privateness issues, based on a brand new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The report, titled, “Approaches and Challenges to Electronically Matching Patients’ Records across Providers,” says there two ways in which data are didn’t be matched precisely. These embody:

Records for various sufferers are mistakenly matched. When this occurs, well being, security and privateness are in jeopardy. A supplier could use a analysis or remedy data for the unsuitable patient. Or, if the unsuitable patient’s medical data is added to a different patient’s report, the primary patient’s privateness has been breached.
Records for a similar patient are not matched. When medical data for a similar patient are not matched, suppliers do not have all the knowledge they should present correct care.

For the research, GAO interviewed representatives from doctor practices and hospitals to learn the way they match patient data.

Some of them informed GAO they’ve labored to enhance the consistency with which they format demographic information of their digital well being data. Multiple stakeholders stated no single effort would resolve the problem of patient report matching.
Stakeholders instructed these normal methods the healthcare group might enhance how patient data are matched:

  • implement widespread requirements for recording demographic information;
  • share finest practices and different sources; and  
  • develop a public-private collaboration to enhance matching.

When it involves the function the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) ought to play, most interviewed for the survey weren’t certain. However, some instructed that ONC might require demographic information requirements for well being IT certification, whereas others stated the company ought to push voluntary adoption of the requirements.

Healthcare suppliers are more and more sharing sufferers’ well being data electronically. When a patient’s data are shared with one other supplier, you will need to precisely match them to the proper patient. GAO and others have reported that precisely matching patient well being data is a barrier to well being data change.

GAO cites a 2014 research discovered that as few as 50 p.c of data are precisely matched when organizations change data. In the American Hospital Association’s 2017 survey, 45 p.c of enormous hospitals reported that difficulties in precisely figuring out sufferers throughout well being IT programs restricted well being data change.

GAO factors out how essential trade requirements are for getting into names and figuring out information into an EHR, and recommends ONC’s Interoperability Standards Advisory Reference as a method to make sure correct matching. The latest model was simply launched Jan. 15, and was based mostly on 74 remark letters, together with almost 400 particular person suggestions for revisions.

A standards-based well being ecosystem can also be crucial, and this 12 months’s HIMSS Global Conference and Exhibition’s Interoperability Showcase subsequent month Orlando  will characteristic 82 organizations demonstrating 121 well being IT programs throughout 16 totally different use-cases. The showcase is designed to get on the coronary heart of what the true worth of interoperability actually is, stated Christel Anderson, senior director, interoperability initiatives, at HIMSS.

Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance author specializing in healthcare, wellness and expertise. 

Twitter: @Diana_Manos
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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 


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