Healthcare Reform

Patient ID Now Coalition Delivers Observations at ONC Working Session

Three people sit in a doctor's office. The doctor smiles at a couple, who are looking at each other and smiling.

Two members of the Patient ID Now Coalition presented recommendations on behalf of the Coalition at the ONC Working Session on patient identity and matching.

HIMSS Vice President for Government Relations Tom Leary and Meryl Bloomrosen, Senior Director, Federal Affairs for Premier Healthcare Alliance, represented the Patient ID Now Coalition at the August 2020 ONC Working Session during the Alliances & Coalitions segment. 

As part of their observations, the Patient ID Now Coalition made recommendations to the federal government that included, as a first step, Congress removing Section 510 of Labor HHS Appropriations, which bans HHS from promulgating a unique patient identifier.

The ban, which was first put into place in 1998, has been narrowly interpreted to preclude HHS from actively engaging with the healthcare community to develop and implement a National Patient Identification Strategy to improve patient matching.

A National Patient Identification Strategy is needed to move forward from decades of discussions into current and future actions to ensure secure information sharing; quality, effective and efficient patient care; and patient safety. 

As part of a National Patient Identification Strategy, the Coalition also recommended the following:

  1. The U.S. should prioritize the accuracy of patient identification and matching because of
    • The urgency of the COVID-19 public health emergency
    • The requirement for nationwide interoperability
  2. Privacy advocates and legislators should recognize that many privacy concerns are addressed by HIPAA
  3. ONC should review and consider current and emerging technology and technical approaches and standards-based solutions

This feedback will inform ONC’s report to Congress on evaluating the effectiveness of technical and operational methods that improve identification of patients. Learn more about the Patient ID Now Coalition.

HIMSS Government Relations

The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.

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