The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) of Chicago is calling for a voluntary, patient-controlled system of unique identifiers. NAHIT says these identifiers are the only way to ensure acceptable levels of safety and accuracy when exchanging medical information through an electronic national network.
Led by its Technology Leadership and Policy Committees, the Alliance has concluded that the current statistical process for matching patients to their records — based on such attributes as name, address and birth date — is too unreliable. A system of unique identifiers would not only make medical information much more complete and accurate but more private and secure, NAHIT says.
The Alliance stated that it has been focusing on the issue of patient identification for three years, including holding forums, reviewing research and gathering input from a range of experts, including some of its members.