Patient matching moves into pilot mode

Accurate patient matching considered critical to safety
By Bernie Monegain
07:36 AM

Patient matching and patient registration could soon get a boost. Organizations working on the Virtual Clipboard Initiative today released the design and specifications for its new pilot program.  

The Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation is leading the effort. It is collaborating with the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, HIMSS and MGMA. The specs released today include defined user functionality, pilot scope and functionality. It also documents future strategic design considerations.

"We expect the Virtual Clipboard Initiative to significantly improve the burdensome patient intake process – a critical and overlooked component of the healthcare delivery system," Devin Jopp, president and CEO of WEDI, said in a news release announcing progress on the initiative. "In an unprecedented collaborative effort, key stakeholders from across the healthcare continuum have come together to define initial standards for mobile healthcare applications," Jopp added. "Leveraging the technology that many patients already use, the pilot seeks to demonstrate dramatic improvements to the healthcare registration process."

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The initial phase of the Virtual Clipboard Initiative pilot will be to facilitate the automated collection of critical patient health insurance and demographic information. Ultimately, the goal is to create consistent standards, integration points and security that will add value to the entire healthcare delivery system by increasing the quality of care, improving patient safety and reducing administrative costs, officials said.

"We are very excited to see the Virtual Clipboard project move into the pilot phase," stated Robert Tennant, director of health information technology policy for the Medical Group Management Association. "Once implemented, this automated approach to patient intake and data transmission will significantly improve administrative efficiency – while at same time increasing patient satisfaction. By bringing together a powerful alliance of patient advocates, providers, health plans and vendors, the Sullivan Institute, along with WEDI, are forging a clear pathway forward to better patient care."

"The Virtual Clipboard Initiative pilot is an important step forward as we progress in the multi-phased approach of re-engineering the flow of healthcare information between health plans, patients and providers," Lisa Gallagher, vice president of technology solutions for HIMSS, added. "HIMSS is eager to bring the work we've undertaken with the other aligned organizations to fruition in this pilot phase of the Virtual Clipboard Initiative."

CHIME, which represents more than 1,400 CIOs and other health IT professionals, has also taken on patient matching as a critical patient safety issue solve. Earlier this year, the organization announced million-dollar challenge to anyone who could come up with a solution. CHIME CEO Russell P. Branzell called it an "ethical duty" for healthIT professionals.

[See also: CHIME presses Congress for patient ID.] and [Unique patient ID problem must be solved.]

AHIMA, too has called for technology that addresses the patient-matching connundrum.

"One of the largest unresolved issues in the safe and secure electronic exchange of health information is a nationwide patient data matching strategy that would ensure the accurate, timely and efficient matching of patients with their healthcare data across different systems and settings of care," AHIMA wrote in the online research journal Perspectives in Health Information Management