Patient ID with the swipe of a license?

Headed to the doctor's office in Texas? Soon, you may be able to bring only your driver's license. A bill proposed in the Texas state Senate calls for providers to be able to swipe licenses electronically to obtain patient information. 

This kind of data collection, taking shape in Senate Bill 166, is one of several initiatives that the Texas Medical Association is pushing for, in an attempt to modernize medical practices in the Lone Star State. They're also backing bills that would standardize preauthorization forms for prescription drugs and healthcare services--Senate Bills 644 and 1216--according to an article in the Texas Tribune.

"A lot of these things are easy fixes," said Michael Speer, M.D., president of the Texas Medical Association, in the article. "It's just a matter of getting enough people to come together and agree that it's the right fix."

The Texas Medical Association maintains that time and money is overly wasted on bureaucracy, estimating that physicians spend nearly $83,000 per year on administrative costs. The business model of hiring staff members to handle paperwork is an inefficient one, they argue.

Senate Bill 166 is awaiting the governor's signature, and Senate Bills 644 and 1216 have been approved by the senate and referred to a House committee.

Collecting accurate patient data, such as that from driver's license, will improve payment systems, increase patient safety and prevent insurance fraud, Nora Belcher, executive director of the Texas e-Health Alliance, said to the Texas Tribune.

"What's really best for the patient is complete data at the point of care," Ms. Belcher said.

To learn more:
- read the Texas Tribune article
- read Texas Senate Bill 166

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