Progress in improving patient identification:
“We are the only country in the western world that doesn’t have a medical identification number. This is a really critical issue in Health IT,” says Jaffee, adding that clearly there are both technical and political aspects to this issue. The lack of such unique identifiers for patients leads to medical errors when data for, say, one Maria Gonzalez is confused with data for one of many other Maria Gonzalezes in the same medical system. More and more healthcare systems, including their primary care practices, are now using optical scanners and fingerprints as identifiers, and that trend is likely to grow, says Wise.