Pew: Healthcare organizations support address standardization to improve record matching

More than 20 healthcare organizations have expressed support for using the USPS standard when recording patients' addresses in the EHR to improve patient matching, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

Standardizing patients' address information in EHRs can lead to more effective matching of an individual's health records, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association. Researchers evaluated match performance based on four metrics: sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and accuracy, and found that standardizing last names and address information within the EHR improved the matching of patient EHRs by 8 percent.

Currently, different EHR systems may record patients' addresses in various ways, such as denoting the word "Street" in an address or abbreviating it to "St." These differences can contribute to difficulties when matching patients, Pew reports. By using the USPS standard, these types of situations can be avoided.

Healthcare organizations including the American Medical Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, as well as EHR and technology vendors such as Epic, Apple and CommonWell Health Alliance have all submitted comments in support of the USPS standard to ONC, according to the report.

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