HIE Data Used to Identify Homeless Patients | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

HIE Data Used to Identify Homeless Patients

February 16, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Using health information exchange (HIE) data has helped researchers identify patients that are likely to be homeless, as well as helping them create a tool that could potentially better improve patient record matching.

The researchers analyzed address data from Healthix, a New York City–based health information exchange— to identify patterns that could indicate homelessness. Patients were categorized as likely to be homeless if they registered with the address of a hospital, homeless shelter, place of worship, or an address containing a keyword synonymous with “homelessness,” according to the researchers’ report, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

As of July 2013, the HIE organization linked records for more than 7 million individual patients across 32 major hospitals and 250 total participating facilities in New York City and Long Island. The researchers’ analysis required them to connect patient records across sites, determining which records belong to the same patient. The researchers think that the technique they presented may offer a tool to improve patient record matching.

 Hospitals and HIEs use algorithms that rely on patient demographic data, including address data, to match patient records, the researchers stated. The results of this record matching are stored in the registration system (master patient index, MPI) of each site and the HIE. If two patient records contain differing address information, the matching algorithm will likely split those records into two different patients, even if they correspond to one unique individual who has registered at different times with different addresses, the report explains. This fact is especially relevant for undomiciled patients, who register with more addresses and visit more healthcare facilities than the average patient. This issue could be mitigated by setting the MPI’s matching algorithm to down-weight address information for records belonging to patients having a previous instance of a proxy undomiciled address, they said.

 “We believe that better HIE record matching for homeless patients could improve HIE usefulness and HIE-enabled care coordination efforts aimed at helping this population,” the researchers concluded. “These findings demonstrate the difficulty of identifying homeless patients after they have accessed healthcare services. A patient’s housing status is frequently known to registration staff at the time a patient is registered, and we believe it may be beneficial to adopt a new policy that requires structured, standardized data on housing status to be collected whenever a patient registers for a healthcare encounter,” they said.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Program Presents Fourth Class of Startups

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, a program that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, has brought in nine more health tech startups as part of its fourth class.

DirectTrust Adds Five Board Members

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that support health information exchange, announced the appointment of five new executives to its board of directors.

Analysis: Many States Continue to Have Restrictive Telemedicine Policies

State Medicaid programs are evolving to accelerate the adoption of telemedicine models, this evolution is occurring more quickly in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by Manatt Health.