Position statement advocates improved patient matching and better data standardization is required for contact tracing and future immunization
MARINA DEL REY, California—May 27, 2020—4medica® has released a position statement on the importance of accurate patient matching as crucial to the success of re-opening the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in support of The Pew Charitable Trust letter to the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.
4medica President Gregg Church, a long-time vocal advocate of clinical interoperability and the importance of accurate patient matching for the seamless and secure exchange of patient medical records, states:
“For decades, the healthcare industry has danced around the issue of mandating guaranteed accurate patient matching. The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to light two momentous issues affecting the lives of millions of Americans: One, the medical necessity of ensuring correct patient demographic data, and two, the ability to exchange that data among disparate healthcare organizations and medical record systems through much needed national adoption of standardized data elements.”
“Current flaws in the identification and matching of patient records not only inhibit the nation’s ability to effectively trace back the contacts of infected individuals during the coronavirus outbreak, but also the administration of an eventual vaccine and collection of dosage data in immunization registries,” he added.
The Pew Charitable Trust letter outlines immediate actions that Congress should take to address the gaps in healthcare data exchange blocking the nation’s response to this and future pandemics:
- Work with federal agencies—such as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the U.S. Postal Services (USPS)—to ensure the use of all available tools at their disposal so that public health entities can effectively trace contacts and track immunizations.
- Advance the use of other regularly collected demographic data elements for patient matching and identification to ensure that public health authorities have up-to-date contact information when receiving reports from laboratories, hospitals and other testing sites.
- Require that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—such as through ONC or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—ensures that all of the demographic information listed in the new regulations are also shared among hospitals, laboratories and registries for pandemic response purposes. Current regulations apply to electronic health records (EHRs) and not to the systems that may transmit data directly to public health authorities for contact tracing or to registries—such as lab systems.
- Standardize and share data elements such as individuals’ phone numbers and addresses across all health IT systems.
“All healthcare organizations struggle with high, double-digit duplication rates and the issues of mismatched identities. We must solve patient matching issues today to get patient duplicate records closer to 1 percent. Not only must healthcare stakeholders of all representations continue supporting efforts to mitigate the spread of the pandemic to prevent disease and death, we also must recognize the role of every state’s local businesses and governments patchworked together heroically upholding our nation’s healthcare system.”
To help facilitate conversations on the national need to urgently address patient identity matching and resolution, Church is speaking at two upcoming virtual events:
- eHealth Initiative webinar: Contact Tracing and Patient Matching (Data Analytics for Managing COVID-19)
Thursday, May 28, 2020
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET
- ONC Working Session: Patient Identity and Matching
Monday, June 1, 2020
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET
In addition to launching The COVID-19 Alerts and Reporting Solution™ with partner KPI Ninja to help identify and prioritize patients at higher risk of contracting severe forms of the respiratory disease, 4medica has released its 4medica 1% as-a-Service™. The technology service is the latest advance in 4medica’s history of helping ACOs, HIEs, HINs, hospitals, health systems, laboratories, radiology imaging centers and payers clean and maintain data hygiene.
Angela Jenkins & Associates for 4medica
Gregg Church, President