CHIA Blog Series: Advocate for MyHealthID

This CHIA blog series provides articles in support of the #MyHealthID initiative and patient matching solutions. Patient education and access to information are two significant focuses of AHIMA’s policy and advocacy work. To accurately tell a patient’s story, we need to start with the correct identification of the patient. But as electronic health records become more common, incorrect patient matching becomes a greater risk and a potential cause of costly or even dangerous mistakes. AHIMA believes a public-private collaboration on a national voluntary patient safety identifier is the solution to the problem of patient matching. Work on this issue is core to our work toward the betterment of patient safety and access to health information. Learn more about AHIMA’s #MyHealthID Advocacy and Policy Efforts here.


Inform and Advocate for MyHealthID: It’s About Patient Safety
Contributed by: Maria Hewett, MBA, RHIA, CHIA Board; Appears in the CHIA Bulletin Oct 26, 2016

Dear HIM friends and colleagues – We need your individual support to have the federal government unblock the budget preventing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spending funds on NPI as a solution for patient misidentification. ¹

At AHIMA 2016 Dr. Andrew Gettinger, chief medical officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) stated he prefers to use the term “individual safety identifier” instead of patient identifier.² Since the inception of the ONC, EHRs, HIEs and a few other quality improvement initiatives in the delivery of health care industry – it has become obvious the need to properly identify patients to provide the right care, at the right time, with the right information and to the right individual in a cost-effective fashion.

AHIMA together with twenty-three health care organizations¹ have sent a letter of support for patient matching language to the attention of the Chairman and Ranking Member House Committee on Appropriations, Hal Rogers and Nita M. Lawey respectively; Chairman and Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies House Committee on Appropriations, Tome Cole and Rosa DeLauro respectively. Briefly key excerpts from the letter are: “the patient matching report language enables toe U.S. Department of HHS acting through ONC and CMS, to provide technical assistance to private-sector led initiatives aimed at developing a coordinated national strategy that will promote patient safety by accurately identifying patients and matching them to their health information.” … “there are patient safety implications when data is matched to the wrong patient and when essential data is lacking from a patient’s record due to identity issues.” … “Accurately identifying patients and matching them to their data is essential to coordination of care and is a requirement for health system transformation and the continuation of our substantial progress towards nationwide interoperability.” …”We, (AHIMA and 23 other undersigned organizations), are adamant that the quality, safety and cost effectiveness of health care across the nation will improve if a national strategy to accurately identify patients and match those patients to their health information is achieved.”

I urge you to contact your elected officials in support for this change. My best to all of you.

¹HealthData Management, Coalition urges lawmakers to continue Support for patient matching, by Greg Slabodkin. October 6, 2016.
²HealthData Management, National patient identifier critical to ensuring patient safety, by Greg Slabodkin. October 21, 2016


Patient Matching: Advocate for Change
Contributed By: Maria Hewett, MBA, RHIA, CHIA Board; Appears in the CHIA Bulletin Sep 28, 2016

Our elected officials from the House and the Senate are at their home districts for the end of September and October and this is a unique opportunity for all CHIA HIM professionals to pay a face to face visit at their office in support of HHS (Health and Human Services) to continue to examine issues around patient matching by encouraging the HHS Secretary, through the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) and CMS to provide technical assistance to private-sector lead initiatives to develop a coordinated national strategy to promote patient safety by accurately identifying patients to their health information. We are asking the inclusion of report language relating to patient matching in the final congressional appropriations product for FY2017.

AHIMA’s State Advocacy Council summarized a set of Talking Points concerning the patient matching report language to assist you. This is the beginning of AHIMA through the CSAs to advocate for a reasonable solution to patient safety by addressing matching issues. Be involved, participate and report your activities and recommendations in this effort to CHIA by emailing News@CaliforniaHIA.org. Surveys indicate the continued need to develop process to measure monitor the quality of data collection at the point of registration as a preventive intervention¹. Patient identification errors, such as duplicate health records, overlay errors², are common with the inception of EHRs, slow to identify, resolve, are costly through denials of claims.² and have the potential to be fatal.³

¹ Survey: Patient Matching Problems Routine in Healthcare. (January 1, 2016). AHIMA
² Landsbach, Grant. Study Analyzes Causes and Consequences of Patient Overlay Errors. (September 2016). Journal of AHIMA 87, no.9: 40-43.
³ Minemyer, Paige. ECRI: Patient Identification Errors Common, Potentially Fatal. (September 26, 2016). FierceHealthcare.