AHIMA Holds Town Hall to Address National Patient Matching Challenges

Oct 30, 2013, 11:20 ET from American Health Information Management Association

Opportunity to Share Ideas, Best Practices, Lesson Learned Offered at AHIMA Convention

ATLANTA, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patient matching, cited as a frequent and serious patient safety and privacy issue, was the focus of discussion today at a town hall meeting that was part of  the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) 85th Annual Convention and Exhibit in Atlanta.

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Health information management (HIM) professionals work to ensure patient safety and privacy through quality information in medical records. To maximize the safety and security of patient medical records, steps must be taken to ensure the proper matching of healthcare information in the electronic health record (EHR) and in the process of health information exchange (HIE).

"Although the nation's healthcare community is moving forward for the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE) capabilities, there is a growing sense of urgency to develop a national approach and strategy to effectively deal with ongoing and significant challenges regarding patient matching. The mismatch between patients and their clinical data is a serious and growing patient safety issue," said Meryl Bloomrosen, MHA, RHIA, FAHIMA, AHIMA's vice president of thought leadership, practice excellence and public policy. 

Participants at AHIMA's town hall discussed:

  • What technological and organizational considerations affect accurate patient matching
  • What approaches organizations are using to achieve accurate patient matching
  • What the top three barriers and/or risks are to attain and secure the integrity of patient matching for healthcare and how can they be mitigated

"HIM professionals are on the front lines in dealing with patient matching," said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "This type of forum serves as a temperature gauge allowing members to learn and share. Our discussion will help AHIMA frame and inform future discussions with federal agencies and industry leaders. Patient matching is essential to avoid duplicate records and to reduce instances of incomplete or fragmented patient information. AHIMA and its members have longstanding experience dealing with patient matching work flow and process, nuances and pitfalls, and stand ready to provide lessons learned. Accurate patient identification is foundational to the successful linking of patient records within healthcare delivery sites and across the healthcare ecosystem. Successful patient matching is key to care delivery, data exchange, analytics, and critical business and clinical processes. We know that effective solutions require more than technology or statistical algorithms." 

AHIMA's discussion comes on the heels of an announcement this fall by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) that it is launching its Patient Matching Initiative, a project to help identify the common features and best practices being used in the private sector and the government.

"Accurate patient identification is the foundation for many advances in healthcare – electronic health records, information governance, health information exchange," said Bloomrosen. "AHIMA is delighted to have the opportunity to convene a public forum on how to address the challenges of patient matching and we look forward to working with key industry stakeholders to develop solutions."

AHIMA's Health Information Exchange Practice Council has been working to update and revise AHIMA's existing patient identity/matching practice brief, "Managing the Integrity of Patient Identity in Health Information Exchange," and it will be available in 2014.  

Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 71,000 educated health information management professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA's enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org

SOURCE American Health Information Management Association