Rand Corporation study endorses need for national unique patient identifiers

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

October 22, 2008

Although its price tag would likely be $11 billion, unique patient identifiers (UPI) would ultimately pay off if included in a national health information network (NHIN) says a new study from the Rand Corporation. Benefits would include greater interoperability among systems, increased efficiency, and prevention of medical errors. Without the development of UPIs the nation risks not having the infrastructure to support an NHIN.

Previously, much of the worry over UPIs has come from privacy concerns over transmitting patients' healthcare information electronically. However, linking patients in a secure manner to their own health data is a major part of delivering quality care, says the study.

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