- The push for a national patient identifier now includes a financial motivation in the form of a $1-million competition launched by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).
On Tuesday, the organization unveiled the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge in partnership with HeroX with the purpose of helping "to develop a solution for ensuring 100 percent accuracy in identifying patients in the United States."
New research recently highlighted how a lack of patient matching and duplicate patient records can lead to serious challenges for the healthcare industry. According to an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) survey, more than half of health IT management professionals regularly work on fixing problems with patient matching and duplicate patient records.
As noted by researchers, some organizations are having to mitigate problems with patient matching and duplicate records on a weekly basis. The solution? The use of national patient identifiers.
Over the past few years, CHIME has found itself at the forefront of calls to make these identifiers a key feature of health IT-related care delivery. The organization has sent several letters to Congress advocating for federal support of a national patient identifier initiative. Now CHIME is putting its money where its mouth is so to speak.
Prior to today's launch event, Intermountain Healthcare Vice President and CIO Marc Probst identified numerous areas where national patient identifiers would prove beneficial to both providers and patients.
"It can really help us — everything from safety and making sure we have the right patient to billing and making sure we're billing the right people," he told EHRIntelligence.com. "Even around security, if we can get to a national patient identifier and it's done right, we can actually improve privacy and security as well."
What's more, the lack of sufficient patient matching capabilities has serious financial implications, such as for Intermountain Healthcare.
"We spend a lot of money on it. Cleaning up from mis-identification and just the efforts of the algorithms, maintaining the algorithms, and everything we have to do around positively identifying someone — I would guess at Intermountain we're in the range of $4 to $5 million a year," Probst revealed.
According to the Intermountain Healthcare VP and CIO, CHIME's initiative and growing Congressional interest in addressing patient identification should prove critical in reducing these costs and associated risks with health data privacy and security.
"This could help us resolve most of that," he continued. "It's an important venture. The attention we're getting even from the government suggests that they know it's important as well. This is a good thing to rally behind."
The million-dollar competition is a crowdsourced initiative that will span a full year and fall under the management of HeroX. The winner for the $1-million prize will be announced in February 2017 at the CHIME-HIMSS CIO Forum.
The challenge will use the following metrics to select a winner:
- Easily and quickly identify patients
- Achieve 100% accuracy in patient identification
- Protect patient privacy
- Protect patient identity
- Achieve adoption by the vast majority of patients, providers, insurers, and other stakeholders
- Scale to handle all patients in the US
The contest begins with a Concept Blitz Road that runs from January 19 through April 8 with the goal of developing and refining ideas for final solutions.
In today's announcement, the challenge already enjoy the support of other industry associations such as the American Medical Association, AHIMA, HIMSS, and The Sequoia Project as well as EHR vendors Allscripts and Cerner.
Additional details about the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge are available here.