CHIME National Patient ID Challenge

CHIME National Patient ID Challenge

Ensure 100% accuracy of every patient’s health info to reduce preventable medical errors and eliminate unnecessary hospital costs/resources.
Grand Prize Winner Announced

Challenge Overview


The CHIME National Patient ID Challenge is a global competition aimed at incentivizing new, early-stage, and experienced innovators to accelerate the creation and adoption of a solution for ensuring 100 percent accuracy in identifying patients in the U.S.  Patients want the right treatment and providers want information about the right patient to provide the right treatment.  Patients also want to protect their privacy and feel secure that their identity is safe.

Accurate identification can greatly reduce the risk of preventable medical errors and significantly increase quality of care.  It can also drive out unnecessary costs by reducing inefficiency.  First and foremost, patient identification is about patient safety, and we need to get it 100% right the first time, and every time.

We believe the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge can make this happen once and for all.

The Problem

In the past, healthcare providers kept all their patients’ records in paper files.  If you went to a new provider, the only way for the information to be exchanged was through fax or regular mail.  There was no hope that in an emergency, the ER doctor could see what conditions you had or what medications you were already taking.  When you were sent to a specialist, sometimes they had a small amount of information sent over by your primary care physician, and often times not.

Over the last 20 years, many providers have converted their paper records to electronic records.  Efforts are underway to share information between providers (hospitals, primary care practices, nursing homes, etc.) so that, if given permission, they can see your health information to provide the best care possible.  

It turns out this is not easy.  Consider the number of John Smiths living in the same town, sometimes even under the same roof.  Now think about the number of John Smiths in a county, state or the nation. There are even many John Smiths or even John A. Smiths with the same birthday. What if John sometimes gives his name as Johnny Smith? Or perhaps his birth name is really Edward John Smith but he goes by John.

Healthcare organizations spend a lot of time using and perfecting complicated algorithms that use a lot of different pieces of information to ensure that the John A. Smith standing in front of them is the same John A. Smith found in their system. Trying to delete duplicate errors and match records from one healthcare provider to another for every patient takes an inordinate amount of time that could be spent focusing on prevention and treatment, not matching records. Because it is still so difficult to get records from other providers, patients often have x-rays and other tests repeated, which in some cases is harmful to the patient, and at the very least wastes time and money.

The information used for identification, which typically includes birthdate, Social Security Number and address, is collected by multiple people, and sent by regular and electronic mail between providers and billing companies. Theft of this personal information is much more difficult to recover from than theft of a national patient identifier. A stolen national patient identifier can simply be terminated and replaced with a new one. In contrast, a patient cannot replace their birthdate and they are likely not planning to move. Their stolen Social Security Number is tied to all sorts of financial and personal records that are now vulnerable to theft. In fact, it is technically illegal for Social Security Numbers to be used for health records, but it is done all the time. This challenge provides an opportunity to establish a more secure method of patient identification.

Unfortunately, even with all of this effort to try and match records as accurately as possible, in the absence of a national patient identifier, the current matching error rate is of great concern.

In an environmental scan in 2014, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology found that the best error rate is around 7%.  Seven out of 100 records are mismatched.  Perhaps the John A. Smith record found was not the right one.  This is pretty serious when you consider that the provider may unknowingly prescribe a medication that interacts poorly with a medication John is already on or cause him harm due to a condition he has.  Many patients cannot tell you accurately themselves what their prescriptions are or name all of their conditions. 

Worse still, the error rate is usually closer to 10 to 20 percent within a healthcare entity and it rises to 50 to 60 percent when entities exchange with each other. That’s just not good enough.  It’s not safe.  We need patients to be identified accurately 100 percent of the time. 

We know it is equally important to protect each and every patient’s privacy. Patients are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), but laws can only protect if they are followed, monitored and enforced; that has been very difficult to accomplish even with paper records. We think the development of a national patient identifier is actually an opportunity to enhance patient privacy.

What this challenge is not: This challenge is not directly about exchanging health information.  It is not a patient portal that lets patients look at all of their data in one place.  It is not a provider portal that lets providers look at all of a patient’s data in one place.   It will not fix all of the duplicate records in a health center’s system.  It will not find and link all the healthcare entities that have data for a patient. However, we believe that a viable and scalable solution to patient identification is an essential building block to achieving greater information exchange between providers. 

What this challenge is: Simply stated, this challenge is about privately, accurately and safely confirming a patient’s identity 100 percent of the time.

Why the CHIME National Patient ID Prize?

We believe that the technology to solve this problem is already available, but hasn’t been put together in a viable and scalable solution yet. And, in order for a patient identification system to work, we need all stakeholders—patients, providers, technology companies, the government and others—to agree on a standard way to accurately and safely identify patients. Imagine if online and storefront retail stores couldn’t quickly verify your credit card. How much more important is it then for patients throughout the nation to be quickly, privately, accurately and safely identified so that the appropriate healthcare treatment can be delivered. 

This challenge will enable the best solution for identifying patients to be developed and will provide all the stakeholders with the capability to start working toward implementing the solution once it is ready. This will result in a dramatic increase in safety and efficiency throughout the healthcare system.

The Challenge Breakthrough

CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust is looking for the best plan, strategies and methodologies that will accomplish the following:

  • Easily and quickly identify patients
  • Achieve 100% accuracy in patient identification
  • Protect patient privacy
  • Protect patient identity
  • Achieve adoption by the vast majority of patients, providers, insurers, and other stakeholders
  • Scale to handle all patients in the U.S.

Read the Challenge Guidelines for complete rules and submission requirements.

Updates 30

Challenge Updates

CHIME Sharpens Focus on Patient Identification Mission, Encourages Stakeholders to Join in Solution

Nov. 15, 2017, 2:01 p.m. PST by George McCulloch

ANN ARBOR, MI, Nov. 15, 2017 – College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) announced today that after nearly two years of work and a great deal of deliberation, CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust has decided to suspend the National Patient ID Challenge. CHIME remains committed, however, to finding a national solution that accurately identifies a patient 100 percent of the time, and will continue to make it a top priority.

“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,” said Russell Branzell, President and CEO of CHIME. “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. We decided the best course for addressing this patient safety hazard is to redirect our attention and resources to another strategy.”

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.

“We will continue to lead, but we cannot do this alone,” Branzell said, noting that 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. “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 College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 2,400 CIO members and over 150 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit

Candace Stuart
Director of Communications and Public Relations, CHIME

This is the final update on the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient Identification Challenge.


Challenge Update

Oct. 16, 2017, 9:33 a.m. PDT by George McCulloch

Phase 1 testing for the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge was completed in early September.  Results of the testing have been compiled and are currently under review.

Finalists for Prototype Testing Announced in CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Chalenge

May 15, 2017, 10 a.m. PDT by Barb Sivek

The CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge has completed the Final Innovation Round. We would like to thank all the competitors from around the world who submitted a proposal.  The submissions showcased cutting-edge solutions. The dedication to addressing the lack of a national patient identification solution demonstrated by the submissions proves that there are many worthwhile ideas and the potential solution for error-proof patient identification becomes closer to a reality every day. Our judging panel was impressed by the quality of the solutions developed to solve an issue that has plagued healthcare for decades.  

Today, we announce and congratulate the finalists that will proceed to the Prototype Testing Round of the Challenge.  The Finalists of the Challenge are as follows:

  • Michael Braithwaite’s proposal achieves patient identification through the use of multiple biometric technologies.
  • Bon Sy’s proposed solution identifies patients by analyzing a combination of behavioral and biometric information.
  • Team HarmonIQ Health System's proposed solution uses blockchain, public ledger, FHIR and encryption/hashing technologies to identify patients.
  • Team RightPatient's innovation uses photos, biometric third-party and other data, to enable patient identification.

The ingenuity and originality of all the proposed solutions for the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge were impressive. The top four finalists, however, exhibited an extraordinary level of innovation, adoptability and implementation in creating a viable solution to solve this critical patient safety issue.

The finalists will now enter the Prototype Testing Round of the competition which is expected to last for several months.  The goal is to announce a final winner in November of 2017.

We also congratulate the following two additional innovators that our panel of judges identified as semi-finalists in the Challenge. These semi-finalists submitted well-developed submissions, but were not selected to advance to the next phase of the competition.

Congratulations again to the finalists who are advancing into the Prototype Testing Round of the Challenge! We would also like to thank the semi-finalists and all of those who submitted proposals. We hope you continue to monitor the outcome of the Challenge as we continue on the path toward awarding the $1 million prize to the solution that best meets the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge criteria.

Judging Final Submissions, Updated Timeline

March 24, 2017, 7 a.m. PDT by Matthew Weinstock

Hello innovators!

As you know, we are in the critical home stretch for the National Patient ID Challenge. We were thrilled to see a number of submissions come in for the final innovation round, which officially closed on March 1.

We want to thank all the finalists for putting in the long hours to complete their work. Just to recap, innovators had to work through 44 use-case scenarios and answer detailed questions around enrollment and identification; security and fraud; management; privacy; scalability; adoptability and implementation. They were also asked to provide details on intellectual property and come up with a prototype development plan. Phew!

It’s a robust set of entries and we want to be sure we do our due diligence and give them the detailed review they deserve. All along, we’ve said that quality is our top priority. We want to identify a solution that will solve this critical patient safety problem. With that in mind, CHIME has adjusted the challenge timeline to ensure that both judges and innovators have adequate time to move through these final stages of review and prototype testing.

  • May 12: Finalists will be announced
    • Finalists will receive guidelines for the prototype stage of the challenge.
    • We’ll also schedule a webinar to provide a more detailed review of what’s expected.
  • June 30: Deadline to submit prototypes
  • July 1 – August 25: Prototype testing phase 1: enrollment & identification
  • September 1 – October 15: Prototype testing phase 2: privacy & security
  • Early November: Winner announced

There’s a lot of work ahead of us as we march toward naming a winner, but it’s important that we don’t lose sight of why we launched this challenge in the first place. ECRI Institute listed patient identification as one of its top 10 patient safety concerns for 2017. Citing its 2016 deep dive on the issue, ECRI noted that of 7,613 events analyzed, 9 percent resulted in patient injury, including two deaths. Imagine if you or a loved one were part of that 9 percent. Our goal is make sure that everyone is correctly identified when they seek care and that we eliminate this risk of patient harm.

The Final Countdown!

Feb. 28, 2017, 12:48 p.m. PST by Matthew Weinstock

Hello Innovators:

It's been a long road, but we are finally getting close to the finish line. The deadline to submit your final proposal is March 1 at midnight Eastern Time. 

We officially launched the National Patient ID Challenge a little over a year ago with the hopes of helping providers save lives and to root out inefficiencies in our healthcare system. We are thrilled that you've joined us on this journey. This video is a brief reminder of why we started down this road:

Again, be sure to get you final submissions in by midnight tomorrow!


Forum 111
Community 876