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National Patient Identifier in Panel Discussion at 2020 HHS ONC for HIT Annual Meeting

Modern Healthcare writes of an experts panel discussion of national patient identifier during the 2020 annual meeting of HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The experts stated while a national patient identifier could help ease patient-matching woes among providers, it’s not the ultimate solution, citing its potential use in addition to the other demographic data already in use today for matching.

For decades, Congress has prohibited HHS from allocating funds for developing a national patient identifier—which would give patients permanent, unique identification numbers—citing issues related to privacy and security. In 2018, citing the potential to minimize misidentification and medical errors, health informatics leaders from England, Scotland and the United States called on Congress to lift a 20-year ban on using federal funds to establish a unique patient identifier (AHT, 2/28/18).

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