Support grows for national patient ID standard

Support appears to be growing for a national data standard for patient identification. Proponents of a National Health Information Network (NHIN) have played down the idea of a national patient identifier for years fearing a political fight with privacy groups that could slow or stall progress. Last week, the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, a federal advisory group, released a report supporting a system that will allow patient data to be correctly identified and shared. A patient ID might be one way but is unlikely to get much support, even though Neal Patterson from Cerner thinks it is needed. In its policy recommendations, the group also suggests new federal privacy rules that would take precedence over the existing patchwork of state regulations, long viewed by many observers as a major obstacle to the development of effective information-sharing.

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