Patient matching problems routine in healthcare


Accurate patient matching is essential to delivering quality care but a lack of resources to deal with patient record duplicates pose a challenge.

This is according to a recent survey by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

The survey of AHIMA members found that more than half of health information management (HIM) professionals routinely work on mitigating possible patient record duplicates at their organization. Of those, 72 percent work on this weekly, indicating the need for a solution to ensure accurate patient matching.

AHIMA said the survey confirms the importance of having an information governance policy that addresses the need for accurately matching patient information. Results also indicate implementing quality assurance measures are critical steps to improving quality of care.

“Accurately matching the right information with the right patient is crucial to reducing potential patient safety risks,” said AHIMA chief executive officer (CEO) Lynne Gordon. “At the very foundation of patient care is the ability to accurately match a patient with his or her health information.”

Healthcare strategic initiatives that rely on accurate patient matching include patient-centric care, health information exchange, and population health.

The survey is a key step in AHIMA’s efforts to lead the industry in meeting the challenges of patient matching and collaborating with healthcare experts to develop solutions. AHIMA plans to use data from the survey to shape future advocacy efforts.

“Improving patient matching efforts is a challenge we can meet,” Gordon said. “The healthcare community must come together to embrace it so that accurate patient information is available when and where it is needed.”

The survey of AHIMA members’ experience with patient matching and linking patient records was answered by 815 participants using 12 different electronic health record systems. 

American Health Information Management Association, AHIMA, Patient Record Duplicates, US, Lynne Gordon