01 Dec The National Unique Patient Identifier – A Brief History

There are numerous articles we’ve all come across in our ongoing search for information regarding interoperability of electronic health records to facilitate greater ease of access to a patient’s full electronic medical history.  However, what about the challenges that come with properly identifying a patient – not only across systems, but even within a single system?

When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996, it included a provision for the creation of a national unique patient identifier.  More than two decades later, we are not much closer than we were when this first passed to achieving one of the objectives of this legislation.  Beginning in 2018, Medicare will be moving away from social security numbers as unique patient identifiers, which appears to be a step in the right direction, but this is still an uphill battle with a steep incline.  Modern Healthcare detailed the history of the national unique patient identifier in an excellent infographic that summarizes the history of the movement surrounding this important piece of HIPAA.

Click here to view the infographic from Modern Healthcare.

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