TThe College of Healthcare Information Management Executives is calling for a renewed push to establish a unique national patient identifier and is unleashing its 1,600 chief information officers and clinical medical informatics officers to press Congress to remove the current prohibition on such an identifier.
As a board certified teleradiologist and clinical informist and Certified Professional in Health Information & Management Systems, one of the greatest challenges in my practice is reconciling patient identities within different EMR or health information systems. Our core business, Musculoskeletal Imaging Consultants has served as a private health information exchange in San Antonio Texas for several years. Doctors may send their patient to any participating imaging center. The patient’s imaging studies are transmitted to RadCloud, a secure private cloud radiology network supporting the Texas Radiology Cooperative (TRC), a cooperative collection of outpatient diagnostic imaging centers in South Texas. Users access the patient’s current and previous studies on one cloud based www.GoToPACS.com website without the need of locating the studies at multiple imaging centers or the need to download multiple conflicting PACS viewers. The user can access all the patient’s studies on a single web accessible work space that we call OneList. In order to reconcile the various patient identities from multiple information systems, we created a patient identity matching method that is approximately 85% accurate. It would dramatically improve efficiency and accuracy if each patient were issued a single unique identifier.
Douglas K Smith MD and Meaningful Collaboration are big fans of the Voluntary Unique Patient ID project that offers a method for interested individuals to obtain a unique trackable UID. I do not believe that any meaningful progress can be made toward achieving the ONC 10 year interoperability goals unless the Federal government mandates a unique patient identifier. We continue to support HIMSS and AHIMA in the support of the concept of a unique patient identifier.