Patient identification problems are pervasive in healthcare: 3 key findings from AHIMA’s patient matching survey

Accurate patient matching is foundational to quality care but a recent survey from The American Health Information Management Society (AHIMA) shows that duplicate medical records still pose a major challenge for healthcare providers. Among the key findings from the survey of 815 health information management (HIM) professionals using 12 different EHR systems are:

  1. More than half of HIM professionals routinely spend time mitigating duplicate medical records at their facility. Of those, nearly three-quarters work duplicate records once a week, at a minimum.  
  2. Fewer than half of HIM professionals say their facility has a quality assurance step in its registration or post-registration process.
  3. Only 43 percent of HIM professionals are performing routine quality check exercises to measure data quality in patient matching.

Additionally, the survey found that top challenges to effective patient matching are registration desk turnover; record matching/patient search terminology and/or algorithms; lack of resources to correct duplicates; inadequate information governance policy support, and lack of executive support.

AHIMA’s findings highlight the need for an accurate patient matching solution

Inaccurate patient information and outdated patient identifiers can have an adverse effect on quality of care. Inaccurate data not only compromises patient safety, it also has a negative impact on revenue cycles. As ineffective manual processes create patient identification issues, new technology solutions are emerging to facilitate positive patient identification and leading healthcare organizations are finding that biometric technologies are a prominent option for reducing patient identification issues.

“Accurately matching the right information with the right patient is crucial to reducing potential patient safety risks,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “At the very foundation of patient care is the ability to accurately match a patient with his or her health information.”

Imprivata PatientSecure

One of these technologies is Imprivata PatientSecure, a positive patient identification system that uses palm vein biometrics to create 1:1 link between a patient and multiple EMR records. Imprivata PatientSecure accurately identifies patients at any point of care and retrieves the correct patient record from multiple hospital information systems, directly from the hospital registration screen.  The solution has helped healthcare delivery organizations to improve patient safety, decrease opportunities for patient identity theft and insurance fraud, drive revenue cycle efficiency, and enhance patient experience and satisfaction.

Imprivata PatientSecure is currently being used to identify more than 7 million patients across the United States. To learn more about why Imprivata PatientSecure is the positive patient identification of choice for more than 350 hospitals, please visit