When the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the United States last year, healthcare providers across the country started looking for ways they can care for patients while still maintaining the government-imposed COVID-19 protocols. Several waivers and alterations to existing policies of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) followed soon thereafter.
January 10, 2022
Government

HHS-Led Initiative Releases Unified Specification for Patient Addresses in Health Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with standards development organizations (SDOs) and health IT stakeholders, released the Project US@ (‘Project USA’) Technical Specification Final Version 1.0. This new specification is a unified, cross-standards, health care specification that could be used across industry for representing patient addresses (mailing, physical, billing, etc.) to improve patient matching. Patient matching and specifically how patient addresses are represented has long been viewed as a critical component of nationwide interoperability and the nation’s health IT infrastructure. The availability of a unified, cross-SDO specification is a testament to the broad industry engagement behind this effort. Now that a specification exists, ONC encourages state and federal agencies, public health organizations, payers, health IT developers, research organizations, health care providers, and all other interested stakeholders to consider adopting and implementing the final specification. “A standardized patient address might seem like a small thing, but that’s precisely why this work was important. Improving the accuracy and consistency of addresses will have a big impact if implemented at scale,” said Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health IT. “I am grateful to the SDOs, federal partners, and health IT stakeholders who all joined in to rapidly develop this new specification.” Also available today is the Project US@ Companion Guide developed by and in collaboration with the American Health Information Management Association. This resource provides operational best practices related to accurate and timely capture and management of patient addresses developed in Project US@ Technical Specification Final Version 1.0. A draft Technical Specification Version 1.0 was released for comment in June 2021 and SDO’s collected input during a 30-day comment period in July 2021. Nearly 130 comments were received from stakeholders and the public, informing the Final Version 1.0 released today. This completes ONC’s goal to complete Project US@ by early 2022. More information about Project US@ can be found on the Project US@ page.
January 7, 2022


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