Dr. Shaun Grannis discusses the need to standardize patient identity matching — the last “gaping hole” in the U.S. e-health infrastructure.
Patient identity is the last gaping hole in our e-health infrastructure, and I use gaping hole deliberately. We need to standardize many things in healthcare. We need to standardize the providers, there’s a national provider ID. We need to standardize facilities. There’s national facility IDs and object identifiers for facilities. We need to standardize the vocabulary. What kind of care was delivered to a patient? That’s where LOINC® and SNOMED and ICD come in. We need to standardize how the data is stored, and that’s where FHIR® and other standards come in.
We have not standardized the patient yet. All of the different types of data that we see in healthcare have received attention on standardization. Patient matching, patient identity has not. And people are beginning to recognize the importance of why we need to understand and develop a clear strategy, and so having a standard way of evaluating that is important.