Health groups celebrate Senate progress in national patient identification

Health groups celebrate Senate progress in national patient identification

ON THE RECORD”HIMSS applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for removing the harmful ban and taking action to address patient identification,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf in a statement. In April, Patient ID Now published a new national strategic framework for patient identity and matching, and called on the government to partner with public health agencies and other private sector groups to help ensure privacy, security and patient safety. “The challenges our healthcare system experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the urgent need for our community to engage with HHS to develop and advance a national patient identification strategy,” said Wolf. “For too long, this outdated prohibition has impeded innovation and jeopardized patient safety. It is time for Congress to finally repeal the ban.”

THE LARGER TRENDThe U.S. House of Representatives already removed the patient ID ban in its version of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. With the movement in the Senate, Patient ID Now is imploring Congress to officially pass a law to remove the ban – in place for more than 20 years now – on developing a nationwide strategy for identification and matching. The group has cast a spotlight on the many challenges caused by patient misidentification: misfiled diagnoses, hobbled interoperability and, especially during the pandemic, “duplicate health records created during the vaccination registration process and disruptions in vaccine availability at provider sites because of inaccurate patient documentation.”

The COVID-19 public health emergency has been an object lesson in the need for accurate patient matching. Since its founding in 2020, and even before that, Patient ID Now and its member groups have sought to build bipartisan momentum toward enabling accurate patient identification – starting first by removing the “antiquated” legislative barriers blocking research into new strategies for unique patient identification.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITNEmail the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.comHealthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication. “We look forward to the near-term release of the congressionally-mandated patient identification report from the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and enactment into law of an HHS funding bill that removes the archaic prohibition and enables HHS to work with the private sector to finally achieve an effective national strategy on patient identification,” added Intermountain Healthcare Chief Information Officer Ryan Smith.

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