CHIME’s Leaders Suspend National Patient ID Initiative

Nov. 17, 2017
The leaders of CHIME, the College of Healthcare Information Management, announced on Wednesday that they were suspending the national patient ID initiative begun nearly two years ago, citing a lack of results

On Wednesday, leaders of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) announced that they have decided to suspend the National Patient ID Challenge, an initiative to help forge collaboration to create an industry-driven universal patient identification number system for U.S. healthcare. The initiative, which has been led by a division of the association called the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust, has been laboring on the initiative for nearly two years.

In making the announcement, Russell Branzell, the president and CEO of CHIME, said in a statement that formed part of the published announcement, “We firmly believe that accurate patient identification is fundamental to patient care today and that innovation will lead to better, more affordable, more accessible and more equitable care. Though we've made great progress and moved the industry forward in many ways through the Challenge, we ultimately did not achieve the results we sought to this complex problem,” Branzell said. “We decided the best course for addressing this patient safety hazard is to redirect our attention and resources to another strategy."

As the announcement noted, “CHIME will assist in developing a Patient Identification Task Force through CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust, the CHIME affiliate that sponsored the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge. CHIME played an integral part in activating the conversation about the importance of a national patient identification solution and is well positioned to bring together health IT leaders from the provider community and industry as well as policy makers and others to build a multisector task force. CHIME commends the Challenge innovators for their commitment to improving healthcare and is encouraging them to participate on the task force,” the announcement stated.

Apparently nodding to policy/political and industry crosscurrents that seem to have made the initiative a complex undertaking after all, Branzell said in his statement, “We will continue to lead, but we cannot do this alone," and, as the CHIME announcement put it, “Washington has signaled a possible easing of restrictions on supporting a national patient identification solution. Still, these actions are not sufficient to meet CHIME's goals.” As Branzell said in the statement, “We need industry and government to join us with the same level of passion and commitment that our members show in their positions as CIOs and senior health IT executives."

The statement noted that this will be the association’s final public statement on this initiative. Healthcare Informatics will update readers on any additional developments around this story.

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