Influence
September 15, 2020

Legislation introduced to Congress to improve patient matching

Education and research from Regenstrief research scientists contribute to action on policy

For the past several years, Regenstrief Institute Vice President for Data and Analytics Shaun Grannis, M.D, M.S., has provided education to members of Congress, their staffs and other federal officials about the importance of patient record matching and the barriers to improving the process. In August 2020, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire and Bill Cassidy, M.D., from Louisiana introduced a bill to aid in improving matching efforts.

The Patient Matching Improvement Act would ensure that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) address-formatting tool is available for use by healthcare providers. Research from Regenstrief Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts and Indiana University School of Medicine indicated that using USPS formatting standards could greatly increase the number of health records that are linked every day. Sen. Hassan cited that research in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calling for action to improve patient record matching.

Dr. Grannis has conducted extensive research in the area of patient identity management. He has provided his expertise to senators, the Food and Drug Administration and others about the challenges to linking medical records, the safety issues caused by unmatched records, and possible solutions. He recently participated in a working session on patient identity and matching hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

He also began work on a new study to understand which demographic data healthcare organizations most frequently use to match patients’ records and how it is entered into the electronic health record system.

In addition to his role as the vice president of data and analytics at Regenstrief Institute, Dr. Grannis is the Regenstrief Chair in Medical Informatics and a professor of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

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