"To improve the quality and safety of patient care, we must develop a nationwide strategy to match the right patient to the right record every time," said Lisa Gallagher, HIMSS vice president of technology solutions, in a statement.
The innovator in residence, she said, "will create a framework for innovative technology and policy solutions to help provide consistent matching of patient health records and patient identification.”
I had two reactions, one after the other:
- That would be awesome (a nationwide strategy to match the right patient to the right record everytime).
- Good luck balancing privacy and accuracy.
- Very similar demographics: (two easily confused patients)
- identical twin boys named John and James, for instance (yes, people do that)
- father and son, same name, unlucky birth dates such 11/1/61 and 1/16/11. It happens and MANY clerks are so pleased to spot the "typo"
- cousins born on the same day or with unlucky birth dates with the same name
- mother & daughter have same name until marriage and updating the
daughter obscures the mother, making the mother look like the maiden
name version of the daughter
- Very dissimilar demographics: (one patient looks like two)
- maiden name to married name: add a birth date correction and all bets are off
- legal name change, sometimes to deliberately leave behind the past--prison term, bad marriage, etc
- heavy use of a nickname "Steve Jones" finally decides to go by "Steven Jones" because his dad, "Steven Jones," just died. Yikes.
- Privacy nut / identity theft: the patient deliberately gives false demographics or those of someone else.
Insurance companies could help, given their efforts to get bills paid across institutions, but I cannot see why they would and I can see why they wouldn't.
Man, I hope that I am wrong about this.