Health IT Pulse

Nov 27 2012   12:57PM GMT

Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns

Alex Delvecchio Alex Delvecchio Profile: Alex Delvecchio

Tags:
EHR implementation
Patient ID
Single sign-on
universal patient identifiers

Health IT data mismatches, often caused by mix-ups within electronic health record systems, will be a concern for patients and providers in 2013, according to a report released by the ECRI Institute. Technology is often to blame for such errors, with EHR system design a likely cause, though human error is still a factor in some cases.

Selecting the proper EHR system is the first step in reducing the number of data inaccuracies. Ensuring that only certified professionals can access an EHR system and interoperability with other EHR systems are two areas to consider when making an EHR selection. Providing only qualified people with access to patient data and organizing workflow by determining who is responsible for entering and updating data can cut down the number of data mix-ups.

Single sign-on technology is an option for health care facilities that wish to ease the access process for care providers, which ultimately affects their patients. Limiting the number of barriers to access between patients and providers will make for less confusion for providers by limiting the amount of data they have to remember. Faster access to the both the physical facilities and digital data gives health care professionals more time to focus on treatment of patients.

Accurate patient identification has been considered a key step of EHR implementation. The number of mistakes made during patient data entry after an EHR system is installed will be reduced through preparation of employees prior to the installation. Carefully entering data and double-checking patient info will save time for other facilities that may provide care for a patient in the future.

Universal patient identifiers are an option that could clear up any patient ID or EHR confusion. Implementing a proposed system that would designate a unique 28 digit and one period ID to Americans has run into challenges at local and national levels. Critics have objected to the cost of maintaining such a system. A unique ID would give health care facilities instant access to patient data, something that could prove vital in an urgent, life or death, scenario.

23  Comments on this Post

 
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  • RightPatient
    Alex - thanks for writing this article, it's always good to see more focus and emphasis placed on patient identification. It's a very important issue and needs to be addressed especially with the proliferation of HIEs and IDNs in healthcare.I do think that several key issues should be added to your synopsis. The first is the lack of any patient identification standardization on what information to use across the healthcare landscape. There is also a lack of consistency on how patient identification information is collected and there is still a public perception that they don't have to present ID when accessing healthcare.  Creating a universal patient identifier is a novel idea, but as you point out, there is resistance from federal and state government about the cost to maintain this type of system. Furthermore, creating a national patient identifier does nothing to stop fraud and medical identity theft each of which costs the industry billions of dollars per year. It should also be noted that the suggestion of implementing a single sign on technology is fair, but does little to address the core patient identification problems that exist and is meant more to prevent healthcare data breaches and provide a more concrete audit trail plus provide convenience and reduce IT costs. Also, your suggestion that "The number of mistakes made during patient data entry after an EHR system is installed will be reduced through preparation of employees prior to the installation." is a valid point but in reality this will do little to nothing to help stop inaccurate patient ID. In high throughput environments, patient admission staff has little to no time to double check data before entry. What is a more sensible solution to solving the problems of patient misidentification is adopting technologies like biometrics for patient ID, or using smart cards or even probablistic matching. These are technologies that have a much better chance of addressing the core problems of patient misidentification rather than the ones you suggest.
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  • Jenny Laurello
    Patient identification errors one of #healthIT’s top 2013 concerns: http://t.co/sRLCPXIm #HITsm #EHR
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  • Jenny Laurello
    Patient identification errors one of #healthIT’s top 2013 concerns: http://t.co/sRLCPXIm #HITsm #EHR
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  • Ed Burns
    Patient identification errors one of #HealthIT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/IJ1dKOKS
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  • RightPatient
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/NSUhdALy (via @TechTarget) #healthcare
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  • Care Communications
    Patient identification errors one of health IT's 2013 concerns - http://t.co/mx1XKaKp
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  • MEDICAL HEADHUNTERS
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT's 2013 concerns: Health IT data mismatches, often caused by mix-u... http://t.co/QC7WHrMI
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  • sarrah mitchel
    Health IT data mismatches, often caused by mix-ups within electronic health record systems, will be a concern fo... http://t.co/nCZJh4lW
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  • sarrah mitchel
    Health IT data mismatches, often caused by mix-ups within electronic health record systems, will be a concern fo... http://t.co/nCZJh4lW
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  • ZipCare
    #HealthIT patient data mismatches a concern for 2013 #health care providers: http://t.co/4TtBrBlC #epatient
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  • ZipCare
    #HealthIT patient data mismatches a concern for 2013 #health care providers: http://t.co/4TtBrBlC #epatient
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  • SHIFT Healthcare
    Patient identification error is one of the top concerns for Healthcare Technology in 2013 via @SearchHealthIT: http://t.co/TcltTrEH
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  • Frank Pasquale
    “Universal patient identifiers could clear up any patient ID or EHR confusion” Let's try em on shell companies 1st http://t.co/STWRAmwu
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  • Victoria Dickinson
    “Universal patient identifiers could clear up any patient ID or EHR confusion” Let's try em on shell companies 1st http://t.co/STWRAmwu
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  • ECRI Institute
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/ITTfA3Y0
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  • ClinicalRisk
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/ITTfA3Y0
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  • ClinicalRisk
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/ITTfA3Y0
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  • ClinicalRisk
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/ITTfA3Y0
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  • Geoff Silva
    Patient identification errors one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/9qYI7GVz
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  • SAP for Healthcare
    Patient identification errors are one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/DRHYXs5Z
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  • Alexander Berler
    Patient identification errors are one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/DRHYXs5Z
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  • Petra Hasselqvist
    Patient identification errors are one of Health IT’s 2013 concerns http://t.co/DRHYXs5Z
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  • Shahnewaz
    thanks for a very well written article on patient identification.I was going through another one blog the other day and i came across this  info graphic on patient identification and its future. Medical identity theft is not only important because of the financial effect of it but also because of the positive treatment of patients. I think this needs to have more focus in the coming day's.

    Thanks
    Mohammad Shahnewaz
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