Patient ID

This week RAND Health published two papers on adopting a unique patient identifier (UPI) as a key element in a national health information network. A UPI was in fact mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, but "privacy and security concerns have completely sidetracked" its development. In both its monograph and research brief, RAND compares a UPI with the currently prevalent statistical matching approach (name, address, SSN) to identifying patients, and presents strong arguments for the UPI.

Identity Crisis: An Examination of the Costs and Benefits of a Unique Patient Identifier for the U.S. Health Care System, Oct. 14, 2008
      Monograph (pdf, 97pp/604kB)
      Summary (pdf, 13pp/160kB)

Identity Crisis?: Approaches to Patient Identification in a National Health Information Network, Oct. 14, 2008
      Research Brief (pdf, 5pp/120kB)



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