Habush Habush and Rottier

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Interview-ish article with Judy Faulkner

Courtesy of Healthcare IT News: Epic CEO Judy Faulkner talks EHR Interoperability, Need for a National Patient ID, Physician Productivity

The comment "Unique patient ID has to happen" intrigued me, because that's patently untrue.

  • We already have a national ID: Social Security Number. However, that doesn't account for recent immigrants or tourists. 
  • It's possible that every single person living on planet Earth may visit the United States at some point and while visiting may need health care. 
  • You'd need to be able to account for >7,000,000,000 people (and counting). 
  • Tourists may visit the USA multiple times and years apart, and they can't be expected to remember an MRN.
  • A national ID does no good if the potential exists for one patient to have multiple IDs. Within a single hospital, Patient Merge gets used all the time. If you've ever had to deal with Patient Merge AND Care Everywhere, then you know the problems that arise when a hospital can't match the person to the chart. Multiply that by the entire nation. Or the entire planet. 
  • Biometrics are unique and they can't be forgotten because they don't have to be remembered in the first place. 
  • A national (international?) database of biometric information with bi-directional interfaces to every hospital system will need to be created and maintained.
  • Remember Obamacare?

That seems a good place to stop. Discuss. 


  1. why don't the use the Social security number as the national id

  2. Identity theft, among other reasons, as SSN is overused and tied to financial operations like taking out loans. So lots of efforts to limit its use. Which in and of itself is probably reasonable.

    For the lack of a meaningful alternative, well... A 1998 (or was it '99?) decision added language to the Omnibus Appropriations Act that prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from using federal money to implement the unique health identifier..