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Leading Healthcare Organizations Announce Formation of Patient ID Now Coalition

CHICAGO – June 29, 2020 – Six leading healthcare organizations today announced the formation of a national coalition called Patient ID Now, which is committed to addressing the issue of patient identification by advocating for legislation and regulations. The founding members of Patient ID Now are the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance.

The coalition recently launched a website, PatientIDNow.org, which highlights the group’s principles. Noting that failure to accurately identify patients to their data raises patient safety and quality of care concerns, Patient ID Now believes it’s critical for Congress to repeal a section of law that prevents the US Department of Health and Human Services from working with the private sector to develop a nationwide patient identification strategy.

“It’s inspiring to see six healthcare organizations work together to create positive change for patients and healthcare systems,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “I am optimistic Patient ID Now will achieve its goals of helping healthcare systems better match patients with their data.”

Properly matching patients and their data not only improves care but saves resources. The Ponemon Institute indicates that on average, 35 percent of all denied claims result directly from inaccurate patient identification or inaccurate and incomplete patient information, costing the average US healthcare system $1.2 million per year.

“CHIME is pleased to join the Patient ID Now Coalition as one of its founding members,” said CHIME’s President and CEO Russell Branzell. “CHIME has called for removing the funding ban for many years; the pandemic only amplifies the need for a safe, efficient and accurate strategy for matching patients to their healthcare records. We look forward to working with our colleagues to remove the funding ban and find solutions that will address this important patient safety issue.”

Patient ID Now invites members of Congress and congressional staff, as well as media, to a virtual Hill briefing on July 7. Speakers will discuss the importance of matching patients and their data, and how Congress can help improve this area of the country’s healthcare system. Opportunities for engagement with speakers will be available. Visit PatientIDNow.org in the coming days to register.

“HIMSS believes that the ‘partner’ patient and access to their longitudinal record is essential to achieving better care, and our members have long advocated for advancing a nationwide patient matching strategy,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf. “However, the outdated and harmful appropriations ban on a unique patient identifier continues to hinder these efforts and must be removed. The inability to accurately match patients with their records not only has severe financial implications, but also impedes health information exchange and most importantly impacts patient safety, including loss of lives. We must act now and remove the ban.”

Here is what leaders of other coalition member organizations said about the group and its goals:

  • “One of the most critical lessons learned from COVID-19 is the importance of informing patients about every step of their care. By having an accurate way of identifying patients, such as a Unique Patient Identifier (UPI), we can inform patients and clinicians and affect better outcomes. Without an accurate way to identify patients, we limit the quality of care and expose patients to potential harms, creating unknown patient safety risks. A UPI would help to ensure that surgeons have a more accurate and consistent means of linking patients to their health information across the continuum of care, ultimately leading to ensure high quality care.” – Frank G. Opelka, MD, FACS, medical director, quality and health policy, American College of Surgeons
  • “Intermountain Healthcare believes that the best thing for our patients and members is removing the appropriations ban on a unique patient identifier. We are committed to helping make this happen. Lifting the ban will enable a national solution to our current inability to consistently and accurately identify patients to their health records. Lifting the archaic appropriations ban on a unique patient health identifier will save lives and is long overdue.” – Marc Probst, vice president and chief information officer, Intermountain Healthcare
  • “The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the urgent need for healthcare data modernization. Technology is available now to collect and analyze critical public health information that can save lives and deliver more efficient and effective care. Yet, we remain saddled with antiquated collection mechanisms and sources of data. Inaccurate patient matching is one of the areas demanding modernization. The Premier healthcare alliance urges Congress to remove the 21-year ban on providing federal funding to adopt a national unique patient identifier.” – Susan DeVore, chief executive officer, Premier Healthcare Alliance

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About Patient ID Now
Patient ID Now is a coalition of healthcare organizations representing a wide range of healthcare stakeholders committed to advancing through legislation and regulations a nationwide strategy to address patient identification. Its members are the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance.

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