Patient Matching in the Electronic Health Record

March 6, 2020 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Patient matching is grounded in strong patient identification practices. "It is important to think of matching as part of a multipronged approach," says Lorraine Possanza, DPM, JD, MBE, FACFOAM, FAPWCA, program director, Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, ECRI. This approach, she explains, includes catching (capturing patient identifiers), matching (correlating information for the correct match), and displaying (how users see that information). "You have to be able to obtain and correctly correlate items that identify the patient," she explains. "This is essential to patient safety."

Several levels of identifiers may be necessary, so processes to manage them correctly must be carefully and deliberately implemented. For example, "patients can have the same name and date of birth," says Robert Giannini, NHA, CHTS-IM/CP, patient safety analyst and consultant, ECRI. "And organizations may not have adequate catching processes in...

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