- Due to the near-universal adoption of mobile phones and smartphones, it makes sense to put them to use improving medical recording matching, a new RAND report concludes.
- The researchers explored a variety of approaches to patient-empowered record matching — from a voluntary national identifier, to using biometric data such as iris scans and fingerprints. Widespread use of mobiles and smartphones offered an especially promising vehicle for a rigorous patient-centric system, according to the report.
- Possible uses include verifying a patient's phone number with their providers and having patients check in for medical appointments via an app that shares updated identity details.
Harnessing the power of data is great, but only if that information is accurate. This could be a way to cut down on patient mismatches caused by common names, typos and other issues. Such mismatches can result in medical errors that cost patients and providers.
Between January 2013 and July 2015, ECRI's Patient Safety Organization found 7,613 wrong-patient events voluntarily reported by 181 healthcare organizations.
Recently, a group of experts convened by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which sponsored the RAND report, called on healthcare providers and technology developers to create a national patient-matching organization. The entity would improve how patients are linked to their health records through use of best practices and standards that all hospitals and IT providers follow.
Meanwhile, there is a push to have patients pay more attention to their personal health information, often tracked on phones or wearables, and proactively share it with providers, health plans and others such as clinical researchers.
"Tools and methods that allow an individual's mobile phone or smartphone to be used for improving medical record matching among different health providers appear to be particularly promising for a patient-empowered approach to the problem," Robert Rudin, lead author and an information scientist at RAND, said in a statement. "But these methods will require development and testing."
Rudin said there is "no silver bullet" for incentivizing patients to try and improve record matching, adding the effort will require real-world pilot testing and analysis of multiple approaches.
Key elements in a phone-based approach include developing technical specification and prototypes for use in pilots, as well as an entity to oversee progress and results, the report says.
Last fall, the American Medical Association launched a shared framework for organizing PHI. The Integrated Health Model Initiative focuses on patient-centric data and identifying data elements that best predict improved outcomes.