Patient identification has been called “paramount” to the formation of an interoperable Learning Health System (LHS). So says the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS).
A joint statement sent by CHIME and AMDIS to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) asks that patient identifiers be included in the interoperability draft roadmap, reports the National Association of Healthcare Access Management. To access the statement, go to http://bit.ly/1cdaF5e. “Without a standard patient identifier, the creation of a longitudinal care record, composed of data and created through disparate systems, geographies, and chronology is simply not feasible,” the statement said. The American Hospital Association (AHA) has asked the government to at least allocate funding to study consumer views about the patient ID system.
The AHA has called the need for a standard patient identifier urgent, notwithstanding the congressional law on the books for more than a decade that prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from creating a unique patient identifier.
The main themes of the CHIME/AMDIS statement are summarized at the beginning of their submission, and they include:
- Patient identification is paramount if we are to make any progress toward an interoperable LHS. Foundational to the vision espoused by the Roadmap is the ability of providers to accurately and consistently match patients with their data. A national approach to patient identification is prerequisite for interoperability and the lack of a standard patient identifier only serves to aggravate our industry’s technical challenges. Without a standard patient identifier, the creation of a longitudinal care record, composed of data created through disparate systems, geographies, and chronology is simply not feasible. Future drafts of this roadmap must enable development of a standard patient identifier.
- CHIME and AMDIS are supportive of the process established by this Roadmap to prioritize standards across several important domains. We also support the concept of a common clinical data set that adheres to clear, enforceable national standards.
- We caution against being overly ambitious with the development of a nationwide governance mechanism and encourage focused prioritization through ingrained collaboration among private and public sector stakeholders. In our view, interoperability in the service of high quality, safe patient care should remain the principal focus of the near-term.
- CHIME and AMDIS support the need for additional testing tools, including scenario-based testing and exception handling, and we agree that their development and use are critical actions for stakeholder assurance that HIT is interoperable. We also underscore the need to have a post-certification surveillance program steeped in assuring conformance to requirements established by certification.