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Statement by CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst and CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, on Johns Hopkins Medicine analysis of medical errors

The Johns Hopkins Medicine study raises serious concerns about patient safety in the nation’s hospitals. One death due to a medical error is too many. Improving quality of care and patient safety is the top priority for College of Healthcare Information Management Executive (CHIME) members. First and foremost is making sure that patients are properly identified when they walk into a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. 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. Already, 345 innovators from 39 countries have registered for the challenge and 113 entered the first phase of the competition. CHIME will award the $1 million grand prize to the winning developer next February.

As we continue to digitize the delivery system, CHIME members are working with clinical leaders in other ways to harness the power of technology to reduce medical errors. For instance, automated alerts in electronic health record systems warn clinicians of a potential medication errors. Bar coding technology at the bedside help nurses ensure that they are giving the right drug to the right patient at the right time. CHIME is also a leading advocate for interoperability and improving the way medical information flows between healthcare providers and even medical devices.

CHIME members are on the frontlines of transforming the delivery system and no issue is more important that patient safety. We will continue to work with clinical leaders to improve how health IT can save lives.