Smarty recently hosted an enlightening webinar on Project US@, a vital initiative in health information technology. The webinar, led by Wes Arnold, Team Lead of Product Marketing, provided insights into Project US@ and its significant role in patient data management.
Project US@ is led by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in collaboration with HSC and AHIMA. The final version 1.0 was released on January 7, 2022.
The goal? The initiative's main objective is to establish a standard approach for representing patient addresses across all health IT systems.
Patient matching significantly affects both patients and providers. Incorrect matching can lead to serious consequences, including legal issues and health risks. As populations grow and address data collection becomes more automated, the importance of accurate patient matching escalates.
Project US@ builds on USPS's Publication 28 but makes specific changes to facilitate patient matching. For example, all letters are capitalized, and street names like "Highway" are fully spelled out for clarity.
Project US@ is not just about technological solutions; it also involves training personnel to handle address data correctly. The project encompasses both technical specifications and personnel training, aiming to improve patient matching from multiple angles.
Accurate patient matching is essential to prevent risks such as misfiled medical results and the mixing up of patient records, which can lead to legal issues and health hazards.
Reduced Duplicate Records: Correct patient matching helps eliminate the creation of duplicate health records. This streamlines the healthcare process and ensures more efficient management of patient data.
Prevention of Medical Errors: Accurate matching prevents critical errors like misfiled mammography results or the overlaying of patient records. Such errors can lead to severe health risks and legal implications for healthcare providers.
Improved Patient Care: With precise patient matching, healthcare providers can offer better, more targeted care. It ensures that the patient's medical history is correctly associated with them, leading to informed and effective treatment decisions.
Reduced Unnecessary Testing and Care: Accurate matching can help avoid unnecessary lab tests or care that might result from misidentified patient data. This not only reduces healthcare costs but also spares patients from redundant or irrelevant procedures.
Increased Privacy and Security of Patient Data: By accurately matching patient data, the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information is minimized. This is particularly important as addresses when combined with other personal information, become personal identifiable information (PII).
Cost Savings for Healthcare Providers: Correct patient matching can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the need for duplicate tests and treatments, minimizing the risk of lawsuits, and streamlining overall administrative processes.
Enhanced Data Quality for Research and Reporting: Accurate patient matching contributes to better data quality, which is essential for research, analysis, reporting, and health analytics. This can lead to improved health outcomes on a broader scale.
Smarty uses a persistent unique identifier system for addresses called SmartyKey, ensuring that the same address is consistently identified, even if certain elements like the street name or ZIP code change.
For example, the street "Cougar Boulevard" is also known as "Bulldog Boulevard" and "1230 North". An address using any of those street names should land in the same place. However, they would show as changes of address in medical records. Utilizing SmartyKey would keep any address at that location marked as unchanged.
Smarty also provides multiple SDKs to facilitate the implementation of their APIs, along with a strong support team and security compliance (SOC 2). This makes it easier for various healthcare IT systems to adopt Project US@ standards.
For further information or to discuss specific needs, you can contact a representative at https://www.smarty.com/contact.
And to if you are wanting to watch the recording we've got you covered here: