- Healthcare IT security company Imprivata is teaming up with patient matching firm Verato in an attempt to improve patient identification using biometrics.
- The collaboration joins the Imprivata PatientSecure identification tool with Verato Universal MPI, a cloud-based master patient index fueled by referential matching technology.
- The combination of biometrics and referential matching allows providers to cross check and authenticate patients to ensure they have the correct medical records.
Patient matching is a vexing problem in healthcare and a major barrier to achieving full interoperability. Matching patients with the wrong records can result in missed diagnoses or treatments, potentially harming patients. During a 30-month period between 2013 and 2015, ECRI's Patient Safety Organization tallied 7,613 wrong-patient events voluntarily reported by 181 healthcare organizations.
Patient matching also is time-consuming. According to a 2015 survey by the American Health Information Management Association, most organizations spend some amount of time weekly on patient matching cleanup.
In a report last fall by The Pew Charitable Trusts, biometrics and reference matching were discussed as two of four promising approaches for improving patient matching.
"Biometrics capture patient identities wherever the patient appears, and referential matching ensures that all the records are linked to the correct patient," Mark LaRow, CEO of Verato, said in a statement. "This solution will help providers, who are now being challenged to provide near-perfect patient identification because of forthcoming regulations by ONC and CMS, support patient-directed access and eliminate 'information blocking.'"
Those regulations, released in February, seek to implement provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act aimed at increasing interoperability, which in turn is believed will improve care coordination, lower costs and reduce duplicative services.
The CMS proposed rule would require Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicare Advantage and health plans participating in federal Affordable Care Act exchanges to provide their roughly 125 million patients with free online access to their medical records, including insurance claims, by 2020.
The proposed rule from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT would have healthcare organizations adopt standard APIs to promote data exchange and clarifies what does and does not constitute information blocking.
Industry widely agrees that interoperability is necessary, but has expressed concern over the pace of the twin interoperability rules. During a Senate hearing last week, industry officials pressed HHS to allow more time to review the proposals and additional time for implementation.