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Patient identity management: a patient safety concern

Fragmented patient data can lead to redundant and unnecessary care, potentially harming individuals. Thought leaders are calling for standardised methods to identify patients and minimise potential harm.

At a recent US Food and Drug Administration conference for improved data standards, Shaun Grannis, Regenstrief Institute Vice President of Data and Analytics, advocated for standards that promote better patient matching.

“Any time you lack complete information to make the best decision possible, there's an opportunity for error,” Grannis said. “Patient matching is a safety issue. Patient identification is paramount to making sure that patients receive appropriate, safe care.”

Grannis noted that patient data is currently fragmented across healthcare systems. Patients often do not receive care at just one facility or in one health system.

“They’re going to be identified differently across organizations. You might go to your primary care doctor or they refer you to a specialist who’s outside of your system, so your data is fragmented,” he continued.

Disjointed data can make it difficult for providers to make decisions about patient care. Without a complete picture of the patient’s medical history, it is more challenging for clinicians to make care decisions.

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Source: EHR Intelligence, 12 November 2019


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