ONC Launches Patient Matching Initiative

Lee Stevens | September 11, 2013

As part of our ongoing effort to improve patient matching across disparate systems, we are beginning a collaborative project to help identify the common denominators and best practices being used by private sector health care delivery systems and Federal agencies. By identifying and recommending standardization of the basic attributes most commonly used for patient matching, we are looking to improve patient safety, care coordination and efficiency.

This new project will focus on two specific objectives related to patient matching:

  • Identifying the common attributes that achieve high positive match rates across disparate systems. The attributes may include common fields such as name, date of birth, address, sex, cell phone number and new criteria such as emergency contact and insurer.
  • Defining the processes and best practices that are most effective to support high positive patient matching rates utilizing these attributes.

As part of the new Patient Matching Initiative, environmental scans and widespread literature reviews will be conducted to inform the next steps in the project. Partners in the project include the Federal Health Architecture – which is made up of more than 20 federal agencies (Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration) and CHIME, HIMSS, the Bipartisan Policy Center, HealtheWay, the EHR/HIE Interoperability Work Group, many large integrated delivery networks and state and local health information exchange organizations. The Patient Matching Initiative will end later this year and participants will present a list of recommendations to The National Coordinator for consideration.

Audacious Inquiry (Ai) will support these activities. Ai has provided market reports on patient matching and other critical topics to support the implementation of health information exchange by the Office of the National Coordinator. Ai also provides technical support for the Maryland Health Information Exchange (CRISP) and developed, implemented and oversees patient matching activities in the state.