Every year since 1999, Congress has passed appropriations bills prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from using funds to promulgate or adopt a rule that would establish a unique health identifier. While we continue to believe that the ban should be lifted, we applaud the House Appropriations Committee for clarifying the limitations this restriction places on HHS and for encouraging the department to work with the private sector on developing a national patient identification and patient matching strategy.
Accurate patient identification is a linchpin to creating a safer and more efficient healthcare delivery system. Unfortunately, the lack of a national patient identification system results in some patients being misidentified. The safety implications of that are immense. According to a 2012 survey, 20 percent of CHIME members could attribute at least one adverse medical event to patient identification or matching mistakes. CHIME has taken the bold step of trying to solve this problem once and for all. The CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust’s National Patient ID Challenge — a $1 million crowdsourcing competition — aims to find a viable and scalable solution to ensure accurate patient identification 100 percent of the time. CHIME will award the $1 million grand prize to the winning developer in 2017.
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