Patient record matching has been a key area of emphasis for healthcare in the US, with several major efforts to identify best practices in the past decade. Because of a lack of a national patient identifier, several distinct approaches to patient matching in both the public and private sectors have emerged, which do not appear to be converging. One major focus of a number of patient matching initiatives is the identification of a core set of data elements found in most patient records, regardless of setting, to facilitate matching. These initiatives have also not yet converged. Some organizations participate in master patient index (MPI) deployments within their agency or jurisdiction. But participation in a shared MPI can also be challenging, and policies and processes for synchronizing record changes, among other issues, must be carefully considered. “Promising practices” should be identified from those jurisdictions that have lived through a migration to an enterprise MPI. While the healthcare ecosystem has learned a great deal, this is an area where constant quality improvement must be applied. The healthcare community must monitor the disparate public and private initiatives to solve the patient matching challenge, and adjust as needed to accommodate approaches intended to be universally implemented.
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