AHIMA and the Patient ID Now Coalition Spotlight Urgent Patient Safety Issue

CHICAGO, May 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- During Patient ID Week, May 13-17, the American Health Information Management Association® (AHIMA) and the Patient ID Now coalition are amplifying the critical issue of patient misidentification and its profound impact on patient safety, privacy, healthcare costs, and healthcare interoperability.

Patient misidentification, which can occur when medical records are overlaid or duplicated, remains a pervasive challenge in healthcare. Confusing one patient for another due to this issue jeopardizes patient safety and privacy and imposes significant financial burdens on patients and healthcare providers.

According to AHIMA President and Board Chair Mona Calhoun, PhD, MS, Med, RHIA, FAHIMA, "Patient misidentification undermines the foundation of trust between patients and the healthcare system. We must address this issue to ensure patient safety, privacy, and efficient care delivery. Misidentification isn’t merely a clerical error, but often results in patient harm and undue financial burden for those who receive bills for care provided for someone else.”

Misidentification leads to adverse medical outcomes, as patients may be treated based on incorrect health information (HI). Moreover, it contributes to privacy breaches, billing inaccuracies, and administrative inefficiencies. The lack of a national strategy to address patient misidentification exacerbates these challenges, hindering progress toward greater healthcare interoperability and the delivery of patient-centered care.

A Government Accountability Office report found that 45 percent of large hospitals reported difficulty accurately identifying patients through electronic HI. A report from Pew Charitable Trusts notes that accurately matching patients to their medical records can be as low as 80 percent within a single care setting and as low as 50 percent among organizations that share electronic HI.

In response, AHIMA continues to call on members of Congress to support HR 7379, the MATCH IT Act of 2024. This bipartisan legislation will improve patient matching within the healthcare ecosystem by creating an industry standard definition for the term “patient match rate” and standardizing the way demographic elements are entered into patient records within certified health IT products.

During Patient ID Week, AHIMA invites individuals to take action by contacting their members of Congress through the AHIMA Action Center. Advocating for the MATCH IT Act and sharing personal experiences of patient misidentification is a call to action for meaningful change in the healthcare landscape.

For more information on patient identification and how to get involved, visit ahima.org/patientID.


About AHIMA 
AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information professionals, boasting over 61,000 members and more than 88,500 credentials in the field. The AHIMA mission of empowering people to impact health® drives its members and credentialed HI professionals to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Leaders within AHIMA work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business, occupying data integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide. To learn more about AHIMA and the health information profession, visit ahima.org

About Patient ID Now 
Patient ID Now is a coalition of healthcare organizations representing a wide range of healthcare stakeholders committed to advancing a nationwide strategy to address patient identification through legislation and regulations. Founding members include the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS), and Intermountain Health.


Patient ID Now Coalition