January 17, 2014 — Through the existing Innovator in Residence (IIR) program, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are collaborating to move forward on the creation of a nationwide patient data matching strategy.
HIMSS is currently recruiting an IIR to develop a vision, strategy and implementation plan for the near-term deployment of consistent patient data matching in health that builds on the body of work from HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and healthcare community partners. The IIR will also assess the longer-term applicability of identity management methods, processes and technologies currently in use in healthcare and other sectors.
The person hired for this two-year opportunity will be an HIMSS employee who will work onsite in the office of the HHS chief technology officer to foster further collaboration with stakeholders across the healthcare community and in collaboration with ONC.
“To improve the quality and safety of patient care, we must develop a nationwide strategy to match the right patient to the right record every time,” said Lisa Gallagher, vice president of technology solutions, HIMSS. “The IIR will create a framework for innovative technology and policy solutions to help provide consistent matching of patient health records and patient identification. We look forward to collaborating with HHS to find the optimal candidate for this opportunity.”
“I encourage anyone who wants to have a substantial and transformative effect on healthcare to apply for this exciting opportunity,” said Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer, HHS. “The work of the IIR will lead to establishing metrics of patient matching technology approaches and create a pathway for evaluating solutions. When looking back, successes of the IIR will include engaging stakeholders to adopt approaches that will set in motion improvements in technology that improve consistent and reliable patient matching of records.”
HIMSS and other organizations have long worked to bring attention to the need for collaboration between the government and the health IT community to identify and adopt a consistent nationwide patient data matching strategy. According to industry estimates, 8 to 14 percent of medical records include erroneous information tied to incorrect patient identification — a serious patient safety risk. In addition, the cost to correct these mismatches is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
HIMSS is one of several groups participating in an ONC Patient Data Matching Initiative announced September 2013. The project’s recommendations were part of a discussion on patient data matching. They provided additional insight into identifying the common attributes that achieve high positive match rates across disparate systems and began defining the processes and best practices that are most effective to support high positive patient matching rates utilizing the common attributes.
Over the past three years of National Health IT Week, one request that HIMSS members have consistently articulated on Capitol Hill has been to “make the development and adoption of a consistent nationwide patient data matching strategy, through government-industry collaboration, a priority.” HIMSS members explained to their members of Congress that “the ability to exchange health information confidentially and securely across systems, settings of care, vendors and geography is a fundamental requirement to transforming America’s healthcare delivery system: achieving improved quality clinical outcomes and controlling costs.”
The IIR will work with stakeholders in business, research, healthcare organizations, consumers/patient organizations, technology vendors and others with an interest in positively transforming the healthcare system in the United States. Candidates with experience in innovative approaches to health information technology development and project management are invited to apply to join HIMSS and HHS in this opportunity to positively impact healthcare in United States.