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Lax record keeping, the transient nature of online identities, and continually changing mobile phone numbers make it hard enough to keep tab on “who’s who” in your patient records. Add common names to the mix and it’s easy to see how patient identity could be hard to keep straight—the consequences of which could be severe in terms of patient safety and your adherence to confidentiality laws. New Jersey thinks one solution would be Master Person Index (MPI), which would in effect view individual bits of medical information as pieces of a larger puzzle (the patient himself). The system would put the pieces—data from various databases, including those from urgent care centers, the New Jersey Department of Health, and other health resources—and assign a unique identifier to every resident in the system, in the hope of reducing the odds of misidentifying an individual. The project is being funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The MPI has already launched a pilot with University Hospital in Newark and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. The state hopes to address concerns over possible misuse of the system by creating a legal framework that would regulate who would have access to the patient information.

Urgent Care Data Would Feed NJ ‘Master Person Index’ to Help Prevent Mistaken Identity