Two influential research organizations last month joined the growing chorus of those calling for greater attention to the problem of inaccurate patient identification. In separate reports, the National Academy of Medicine and ECRI Institute’s Patient Safety Organization detailed the risks associated with patient identification errors.

ECRI studied 7,613 wrong-patient events reported by 181 healthcare providers between January 2013 and August 2015. The analysis found that 72 percent of the errors occurred during patient encounters, 12 percent of which took place during the intake process. ECRI’s report takes a pretty deep dive into areas where patient identification errors can occur across the patient experience.

Meanwhile, an expert panel from the National Academy of Medicine took a broader look at how health IT and interoperability can influence care along the continuum. “The need for a national strategy for identification and matching has become more urgent in light of the increasingly digitized state of the US health care system and the substantial increase in demands and policies for accelerating electronic information-sharing,” the panel noted.

While recognizing CHIME’s National Patient ID Challenge, as well as other private sector initiatives aimed at advancing solutions, the panel said that “federal action is needed to facilitate accurate identification and matching of patient data to support widespread information-sharing and interoperability in the United States.” It called on Congress to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to “adopt and promulgate standards for patient identification and matching.”

Keeping on the policy front, CHIME joined 22 other healthcare organizations last week encouraging House appropriators to advance legislative language that could remove barriers inhibiting HHS from engaging with the private sector on patient identification and matching solutions.

Through CHIME’s advocacy efforts and your continued support of the National Patient ID Challenge, momentum is clearly building for addressing this serious patient safety problem.