Pew to CMS: Patient matching is 'key' to healthcare interoperability

The Pew Charitable Trusts penned a June 25 letter to CMS emphasizing that improvements to patient matching are a "key building block for interoperability."

The research and policy organization wrote its letter in response to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule, which CMS released in the Federal Register May 7. The annual Medicare inpatient payment update includes various changes, including a greater emphasis on ensuring interoperability among EHRs.

In its letter, The Pew Charitable Trusts argued improved patient matching — the ability to link a patient to his or her health records across multiple locations and EHR systems — is a necessary and foundational step for CMS to achieve its interoperability goals. The Pew Charitable Trusts cited research that patient matching rates are as low as 50 percent when attempting to link records across separate facilities.

"Improving patient match rates is critical as we consider a system that allows patients to access care anywhere they wish to receive it," the letter reads.

To address challenges related to patient matching, The Pew Charitable Trusts said it is researching best practices to solve this interoperability problem. As an example, the organization said it is assessing whether using more detailed demographic data, such as patients' names and dates of birth, might improve match rates across facilities.

To access The Pew Charitable Trusts' letter, click here.

More articles on EHRs & interoperability:
KLAS: How well do patient intake solutions integrate with EHRs?
Washington health system streamlines patient portal sign-up
Michigan behavioral health system goes live on Epic to coordinate with nearby hospitals

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