June 12, 2018

National Patient Matching Framework Updated

The Sequoia Project adopts public evaluation and comment for framework

Vienna, VA – June 12, 2018 – The Sequoia Project announced the results of a multi-year effort of a diverse stakeholder workgroup to examine and revise best practices for patient matching between health information exchange partners. The revised whitepaper, entitled “A Framework for Cross-Organizational Patient Identity Management 2018,” is a multi-dimensional document featuring a matching maturity model, a detailed case study and specific practices for a national patient matching framework.

“When we released the proposed minimal practices document a few years ago we knew patient matching was one of the most significant challenges to nationwide health information sharing,” said Eric Heflin, chief technology officer for The Sequoia Project and lead author of the paper. “So, we were pleased to receive robust and detailed feedback during the public comment period, as well as many experts volunteering their time and considerable operational knowledge to improve the national-level guidance.”

The Sequoia Project convened a Patient Identity Management Workgroup, comprised of industry, academic, standards and government experts.  It was charged with dispositioning comments to develop final recommendations for improved patient identity management. In alphabetical order: (* Denotes co-chair)

  • Jamie Bennett, Healthcare Systems Specialist, JP Systems Inc., Veterans’ Health Administration
  • Ryan Bramble*, Senior Director of Technology, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP)
  • Karon Casey, IT Manager, Coastal Connect Health Information Exchange
  • Adam Culbertson, Innovator in Residence, HIMSS
  • John T. Donnelly, President, IntePro Solutions Inc.
  • Zachary Gillen*, Senior Director, Care Delivery Technology Services, Kaiser Permanente IT
  • Eric Heflin, Chief Information Officer /Chief Technology Officer, The Sequoia Project
  • Al Jackson, Vice President of Information Management & System Performance, Surescripts LLC
  • Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA, Director, Practice Excellence, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA, FAHIMA, Chief Health Information Management and Exchange Officer, Children’s Health (Dallas, Texas)
  • Rebecca Madison*, Executive Director, Alaska eHealth Network
  • Shelley Mannino-Marosi, Senior Director, Program Management, Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services
  • Greg Mears, MD Medical Director, ZOLL
  • Wendi Melgoza, RHIA, CPHI HIM, Data Quality Manager, Sutter Health Shared Services
  • Ben Moscovitch Manager, Health Information Technology, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Marty Prahl, Health IT Consultant, Social Security Administration
  • Catherine Procknow, Software Developer, Epic
  • Carmen Smiley, IT Specialist (Health System Analysis), Office of Standards & Technology HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

In addition to affirming the draft guidance, the workgroup incorporated new proposals to support the unique patient identifier challenges of pediatrics. There is currently no widely employed naming convention for newborns, specifically, patients who have not yet received their legal name and have a temporary name. Of course, babies do not have social security numbers or other government–assigned identification at the time of birth. The issue is further complicated in the instance of multiple births, such as triplets, and the need for in-utero procedures.

“This paper provides a roadmap for advancing our national patient matching strategy. We hope to see organizations adopt these minimal practices and maturity model for patient matching with their external health information exchange partners,” said Heflin. “If we can standardize, in practice, how EMRs and HIOs leverage existing standards, we will increase patient match rates dramatically even in the absence of having a national unique patient identifier.”

The full paper, including details about the study and the proposed framework for how to implement the findings nationally, is available for public use on The Sequoia Project website.

The Sequoia Project identified the need for a patient matching framework and convened the workgroup under a new model for transparently and inclusively solving discrete interoperability challenges. The non-profit aims to replicate this public-private collaborative process to address other challenges such as improving clinical content, among others.

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