The American Hospital Association likes much of the health information technology safety plan that the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT released for public comment in December. But the patient identifier issue was glossed over in the plan and must be given more focus, the AHA says in a comment letter to ONC.

“The issue of how to match patients with their medical records needs to be solved as we accelerate information exchange on regional and national levels,” according to the AHA. “The inability to match patients across silos raises safety concerns about mismatches--incorrectly matching patients, or missing a match that should have been made. In addition, without a single, national approach to patient matching, hospitals and health systems are forced to expend significant resources on expensive, proprietary solutions to develop master patient indexes that apply only to that particular hospital or health system’s patients.”

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