Monday, July 24, 2017

Study of patient matching attributes shows big drop for SSN

PARCA eNews – July 13, 2017 – First and last name, date of birth, gender and address continue to be widely available for patient matching over time, however, use of Social Security Number availability fell from 83.3 percent in 2005 to 50.44 percent in 2014, according to new patient matching research.

The study in the journal Applied Clinical Informatics, led by Adam Culbertson, HIMSS innovator in residence, compiled a list of 36 demographic elements that stakeholders had previously identified as essential patient demographic attributes that should be collected for the purpose of linking patient records. They then analyzed a data sample between 2005-2014 from 9 health care systems in geographically distinct sites around the country to see how much patient demographics varied over time and across clinical sites.

They found that first and last names remained available nearly 100 percent of the time (99.96 percent and 99.95 percent), with date of birth, gender and postal zip remained available from 98.2 percent to 94.7 percent of the time. Availability of other attributes other then SSN changed dramatically including email addresses (8.94 percent to 54 percent), and work phone numbers (20.61 percent to 52.33 percent).

Source: Applied Clinical Informatics, vol.8, no. 2 2017, pos 322-336

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