One of the most important goals of sharing health information electronically is helping doctors build complete, current pictures of their patients using information from multiple sources. These sources can include other doctors or specialists, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities and any other healthcare setting where care is provided.
Enabling doctors to gather the details to build these complete patient pictures requires accurate “patient-matching” to make sure electronic health information from outside sources is attached to the correct patient.
These patient-matching challenges can cause higher healthcare costs and lower care quality in many ways. When a patient’s health information is shared among doctors who use different systems, a lot of effort is needed to find and evaluate variations and identify the correct patient in each health information system. Errors can and do occur, meaning the wrong information can be matched to a patient.
The Common Key Service uses multiple techniques to accurately match patients with their records, including:
The common key is stored and attached to the patient record in the master person index and shared with all systems that exchange information about that patient.
Benefits of the Common Key Service include: