An Important Step Forward in Repealing Patient ID Ban

Patient ID Now is a healthcare organization with members that include American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare, and Premier Healthcare Alliance. The coalition is bringing attention to the critical challenges of patient misidentification that afflict the country’s health system. Failure to accurately identify patients to their data raises patient safety and quality of care concerns, and those concerns have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An archaic section of the federal budget has prevented the US Department of Health and Human Services from working with the private sector to develop a nationwide patient identification strategy, but just recently the House of Representatives, with leadership on this issue from Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), took an important step forward in repealing this ban.

In a recent statement by the organization, they “are very excited that the House of Representatives has taken this step towards addressing the harmful effects of patient misidentification,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “This bipartisan effort is a true demonstration of lawmakers working to protect patient safety, public health, and lessening the burden on the health system.”

Along with other reactions:

“Accurately matching patients to their health information is critical to delivering safe, efficient and high-quality care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Today, the House took an important step to removing a major impediment to patient matching and identification, which is putting patients at risk, increasing healthcare costs, perpetuating inefficiencies in care delivery and coordination, and undermining efforts to achieve nationwide interoperability.”— Blair Childs, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Premier Healthcare Alliance

“On behalf of our patients and caregivers, Intermountain Healthcare applauds House passage of the Foster-Kelly Amendment and looks forward to a future in which patients can accurately, safely, and consistently be matched to their health data across the care continuum.”— Ryan Smith, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Intermountain Healthcare

“HIMSS applauds the House of Representatives for taking decisive action to eliminate the outdated and harmful appropriations ban on a unique patient identifier and permit HHS to actively engage in developing a national patient matching strategy.We encourage the Senate to include similar language in their appropriations bill, so the healthcare community can take action to advance patient safety through interoperable digital health information exchange.”— Hal Wolf, President and CEO, HIMSS