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CRISP seeks to solve the identity challenge

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Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), a not-for-profit health information exchange (HIE) serving Maryland and the District of Columbia, is using technology to ensure that organizations exchanging information are talking about the same people. The ability to match and link patient identities across its participating organizations is fundamental to CRISP’s core services including its Clinical Query Portal and its Encounter Notification Service.

CRISP has chosen Verato Universal MPI, a cloud-based patient matching solution, to automatically match difficult identities in real time, saving the time and effort of manual review and thus helping participants provide better care for their patients. Matching and linking patient identities can be difficult for HIEs because of the diversity and independence of the institutions they serve. Despite large investments in conventional master patient index (MPI) technologies, healthcare organizations also must invest in teams of data stewards who manually review and resolve the difficult matches.

David Horrocks, president of CRISP, explains, “Accurate patient matching is foundational to our mission of enabling our healthcare community to share data in order to provide better care, reduce costs and improve health outcomes. With so many organizations contributing data, we require a high-volume solution, and we must be extremely careful not to incorrectly match patient records. As we automate the delivery of information right into electronic health records, accuracy becomes even more critical, and the transaction volumes are soaring. The burdens that have been placed on our MPI are 10 times what they were a few years ago. Verato is proving a very cost-effective solution to significantly improve our matching capabilities—straightforward both to deploy and operate.”

Before implementing the Verato Universal MPI last year, CRISP’s conventional MPI was flagging nearly 6,000 incoming patient identities as potential matches that needed to be manually resolved. But those flags were being generated faster than they could be resolved, leading to a growing backlog of potential matches. With the addition of the Verato Universal MPI’s matching capabilities, CRISP has worked through more than 2.2 million potential matches in its backlog, according to Verato.

Mark LaRow, Verato CEO, says, “Exchanging and sharing health data is more than just a technical challenge; it is also an identity challenge. It fundamentally requires the exchanging organizations to answer the question, ‘Are we exchanging data about the same person?’ In the healthcare industry, this identity challenge is frequently overlooked in favor of discussions about technical standards, data formats and data quality. But it is arguably the most important challenge to overcome to ensure patient safety, patient privacy and better care.”


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