Unique patient identifier addresses data breach safety concerns


Tascet has released its Unique Patient Identifier (UPI), a solution for the healthcare industry today that resolves safety concerns stemming from data breaches.

Organizations including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems and the American Hospital Association have called the unique patient identifier “foundational” and say it addresses an urgent need for safely exchanging electronic health records without risking patient privacy. 

Centralized payment hubs being developed by a number of banks have also found it necessary that a unique patient identifier exist in order to assure prompt and accurate payments.

Describing the breakthrough, Larry Aubol, chief executive officer of Tascet, said: “The UPI solves the most difficult challenge to patient safety: ensuring that patient records cannot be compromised due to mismatching, duplication, fraud or data breaches.” 

Years of discussions with industry executives, physicians, associations, privacy advocates, HIEs, payers, pharmacists and government officials provided the backdrop for the development of the unique patient identifier.

“Even before data breaches became systemic, development of a UPI solution was prompted by basic patient safety concerns,” Aubol said. “The biggest obstacle has been making the UPI inherently secure so that patient records are always protected from unauthorized access, and that’s exactly what we do.”

In 2008, the RAND Corporation examined the benefits of a unique patient identifier for the US healthcare system. The report highlighted six attributes outlined in the ASTM standard, which called for the UPI to be unique and canonical, invariable, nondisclosing, verifiable, ubiquitous and limited in use to accessing health information.

“To be both unique and canonical, a patient identifier must prevent multiple patients from being assigned to the same patient identifier, while also ensuring that the same patient is not attributed to more than one identifier, across the nationwide healthcare system,” explained Aubol. 

“The UPI accomplishes these and the other attributes noted by RAND, all while protecting the privacy of the patients and improving revenue cycle management for providers.”

Aubol added: “The UPI is just one component but it is the foundation for interoperability in nationwide health information exchange, and the means to safeguard patients and their privacy.”

Tascet, Unique Patient Identified, UPI, US, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, Larry Aubol