Common Key Service – MiHIN
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Common Key Service

A consistent, reliable method to help match patients with their electronic health information across multiple organizations, applications, and services  


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:

  • Use of proven matching criteria to ensure patient details (such as last name, date of birth, and phone number) accurately identify the patient
  • Connection with a statewide master person index which ensures each patient is represented only once
  • Assignment of a unique “common key” attribute to each patient. This attribute serves as an additional factor to increase the accuracy of matching patients with their records

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:

  • Improved patient safety and privacy
  • Enhances data integrity
  • Reduces workflow and cost
  • Greater consistency

To enroll in the Common Key Service, contact us. Or learn more about the service through its use case.