NextGate and the eHealth Initiative Foundation (eHI) have released a report that suggests that many healthcare organizations are still struggling with patient matching. The survey specifically found that an astonishing 38 percent of all U.S. healthcare providers had experienced some kind of negative event solely because of a patient matching issue in the past two years.
The report goes on to explore some of the steps that healthcare providers are taking to address the issue, and highlights some of the obstacles that they are likely to face along the way. For example, duplicate medical records are often the result of a data entry error, and many Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are dramatically underfunded and understaffed. That suggests that patient records are simply not a high priority for many institutions.
Unfortunately, that leads to worse (and potentially disastrous) outcomes for patients, especially if doctors are forced to make decisions based on limited information.
“Incomplete or inaccurate data in one’s health record can be detrimental to patient safety and a significant barrier to delivering coordinated, patient-centric care,” said NextGate CEO Andy Aroditis. “This survey confirms that healthcare institutions must continue to invest in better approaches to facilitate a comprehensive and accurate record of care.”
To that end, the survey advocates for federal funding, noting that around 70 percent of the respondents would like to see money set aside for a national patient identification platform. It also indicates that there is strong support for biometric identification technology, which is considered to be one of the best ways to facilitate patient matching at a national scale, along with the establishment of uniform data standards.
As it stands, 67 percent of healthcare providers use some form of quality assurance to try and spot discrepancies in their records.
“Measures that make information more accessible, and improve data governance at the point of collection, are needed to accelerate patient matching performance,” concluded Aroditis.
NextGate previously sent a pair of letters to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to encourage them to standardize data collection practices for patients. The company helped Scotland with its national patient matching system in 2017.
February 12, 2020 – by Eric Weiss