Correctly and consistently linking patient data across the care continuum remains a significant challenge for U.S. hospitals and health information exchanges (HIEs), according to a report from eHealth Initiative Foundation and NextGate, which merged with Rhapsody in 2022. The findings are based on a national survey of healthcare provider and HIE leaders in 2020 to capture a candid and comprehensive picture of the current patient matching landscape.
Massive changes are taking place in the healthcare ecosystem as the U.S. transitions to a value-based care model, including many mergers and acquisitions and a wide expansion of interoperability services for HIEs. This study helps to better define actions currently in place, adoption barriers, and the growing need for government support.
“As the number of players and organizations in the healthcare space continue to expand rapidly, patient matching is even more important,” says Jennifer Covich Bordenick, chief executive officer of eHealth Initiative Foundation.
Key findings of the survey include:
- 38 percent of U.S. healthcare providers have incurred an adverse event in the last two years as the result of a patient matching issue.
- Data entry errors are the leading cause of duplicate medical records.
- Lack of funding and staff are the biggest barriers to patient matching for HIEs, while providers point to lack of prioritization and technology.
- 67 percent of providers employ quality assurance steps to help identify discrepancies during or post registration.
- Approximately 70% of providers and HIE leaders “completely” or “somewhat” agree that federal funding should be made available for a national patient identifier.
- Healthcare providers and HIE leaders see data standardization and biometrics as the most promising innovations to impact patient matching efforts nationally.
Incomplete or inaccurate patient data can be detrimental to patient safety and a significant barrier to delivering coordinated, patient-centric care. Healthcare organizations must continue to invest in technology that facilitates a comprehensive and accurate record of care across the continuum.
Measures that move identity management out of EHRs, make meaningful information more accessible and sharable, and improve data governance at the point of collection, are much needed steps to accelerate patient matching performance.
See the full results of The State of Patient Matching in America survey.
Editors Note: To assess the current state of patient matching in the U.S., eHealth Initiative (eHI), was commissioned by NextGate to survey leaders at provider and HIE organizations. Since publishing the report, NextGate has merged with Rhapsody.