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CHIME Unveils National Patient Identifier Challenge Finalists

CHIME selected four finalists to advance to the next stage of its $1-million innovation challenge to design a national patient identifier.

National patient identifier for patient matching

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) yesterday announced the finalists of its Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge, its own effort to address positive patient identification nationwide.

After the final innovation round came to a close, CHIME sifted through submitted proposals from innovators around the globe looking to resolve the industry’s lack of a national patient identifier. 

“The dedication to addressing the lack of a national patient identification solution demonstrated by the submissions proves that there are many worthwhile ideas and the potential solution for error-proof patient identification becomes closer to a reality every day,” the organization announced. “Our judging panel was impressed by the quality of the solutions developed to solve an issue that has plagued healthcare for decades.”

The following four finalists will move on to a prototype testing round:

  • Michael Braithwaite for their proposal to use multiple biometric technologies to identify patients accurately.
  • Bon Sy for their proposed solution designed to identify patients by analyzing a combination of behavioral and biometric information.
  • Team HarmonIQ Health System for their proposed solution using blockchain, public ledger, FHIR, and encryption/hashing technologies to accurately identify patients.
  • Team RightPatient for their proposal using photos, biometric third-party data, and other data to enable patient identification.

The next round of the challenge will span several months and conclude in November of 2017 with the announcement of a single winner.

“The ingenuity and originality of all the proposed solutions for the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge were impressive,” stated the organization. “The top four finalists, however, exhibited an extraordinary level of innovation, adoptability and implementation in creating a viable solution to solve this critical patient safety issue.”

FactNexusHealth and GPII Spiral Nebula received honorable mentions as semifinalists. Though their proposed solutions were well designed, these teams will not take part in the next phase of the competition.

The winner of CHIME’s innovation challenge will be awarded a $1-million prize.

The competition kicked off in January around the same time that an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) survey showed more than half of health IT management professionals regularly work on fixing problems with patient matching and duplicate records.

Errors in patient matching and duplicate health records cause a litany of problems for healthcare organizations through both patient safety issues and additional costs.

The winner of the challenge must succeed in meeting the following requirements: 

  • 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

Creating a solution that fulfills each of these requirements will help reduce the costs and risks associated with patient health data omissions and duplications.

Longstanding frustrations with the nation’s lack of a unique patient identification system have given rise to letters from scores of healthcare organizations urging Congress for federal technical support and a forthcoming Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge led by ONC designed to spur innovation.

CHIME’s million-dollar innovation challenge is the newest in a recent surge of positive developments toward achieving the patient identification system the industry so badly needs.

Last week, Congress included report language in its FY17 Omnibus appropriations legislation allowing HHS to aid in efforts to create a nationwide patient matching system through technical assistance and planning. This legislation marked the end of decades of work by HIMSS and other organizations to encourage Congress to make a unique patient identifier a national priority. 

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