Patient Matching: The Latest Congressional Proposal Pending
Legislation Calls for a Study Focusing on Medicare Patients
The effort to improve the matching of patients to all the right records from multiple sources may get a new boost from Congress.
“The challenges with any database system is to maintain data integrity and eliminate duplicate records,” says Tom Walsh, president of the consultancy tw-Security.
“For example, if I have made several visits to a healthcare organization, they may have my name listed differently in their MPI database … [including] ‘Thomas Walsh,’ ‘Thomas R. Walsh,’ or ‘Tom Walsh,'” he notes. “The multiple entries occur during patient access – admissions or registration. The clerk at the healthcare organization doing the data entry during admissions or registration may be in a hurry and doesn’t have the time to verify if I already exist in the database. Thus, duplications commonly occur. This causes problems not only for the patient, but also for payer organizations such as Medicare.”