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Sequoia Project Releases Patient Matching Framework

November 10, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Addressing the issue of accurate patient identification as part of health data sharing, The Sequoia Project and the Care Connectivity Consortium (CCC) today released a proposed national patient matching framework.

In a whitepaper entitled “A Framework for Cross-Organizational Patient Identity Management,” the two organizations examined best practices for matching medical records to the correct patients for health information exchange partners. The paper also includes a proposed matching maturity model and specific practices for a national patient matching framework. The Sequoia Project and the CCC is seeking public evaluation and feedback for the proposed national framework. The public comment period ends on Jan. 22, 2016.

“Patient matching continues to be one of the largest impediments to nationwide health data sharing,” Eric Heflin, chief technology officer for The Sequoia Project and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. “Right now, many care organizations are experiencing match rates that are far too low – reducing effectiveness of care, increasing costs, and impacting the patient experience. We need an approach that delivers the best possible means to match patients, and the paper released today clearly illustrates that it’s possible and within reach, even without a curated national identifier.”

The whitepaper specifically highlights a case study featuring a live production pilot using CCC Services between Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare and local exchange partners including Utah Health Information Network (UHIN). Intermountain is a health system with 22 hospitals, a broad range of clinics and services and 1,400 employed primary care and secondary care physicians at more than 185 clinics in the Intermountain Medical Group, and health insurance plans from SelectHealth. The production pilot between Intermountain Healthcare and local exchange partners successfully increased match rates between exchange partners from 10 percent to greater than 95 percent.

Russell Branzell, president and CEO of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), says the Sequoia Project framework “highlights the importance patient identification plays in such issues as patient safety and interoperability. The framework is an important step in the push towards achieving the goal of 100 percent patient identification.”

“CHIME has been at the forefront of advocating for a national patient identifier, which our members believe is essential to advance patient safety and improved quality of care,” Branzell said.

“Patient matching is a complex issue and this paper will spur a constructive national dialogue,” said Mariann Yeager, chief executive officer of The Sequoia Project. “It will also provide CXO’s an actionable framework for methodically assessing and improving patient matching among exchange partners. There are low-effort, high-yield strategies we can implement today to dramatically increase cross-organization matching, while on the road to ever improving patient outcomes.”

Many healthcare IT leaders have cited the absence of a nationally-recognized identifier as an ongoing challenge to matching patients to their healthcare data.

Many healthcare IT leaders have cited the absence of a nationally-recognized identifier as an ongoing challenge to matching patients to their healthcare data. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee also  is working on a medical innovation bill that is a companion bill to the House of Representatives’ 21st Century Cures Act which is expected to address patient matching.

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